Saturday, 19 December 2015

IAAF Diack Admits Russian Money

The former IAAF president Lamine Diack has admitted to police that he asked Russia for €1.5m to run a political campaign in his native Senegal, according to the French newspaper Le Monde.

France’s national office for financial prosecutions is investigating Diack, who stepped down as IAAF president in August when he was succeeded by Sebastian Coe.

Police say he is suspected of taking the money to cover up positive drugs tests by Russian athletes.

Le Monde says it has obtained transcripts of Diack’s interviews with police in which he admits to having spoken with the former Russian athletics federation president and IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev about needing money. Diack wanted to finance opposition against Senegal’s then-president Abdoulaye Wade.

The transcript reported by Le Monde said: “I told him that to win the elections, I needed about €1.5m. He said to me: ‘We’ll try to find it, no problem.’

“At that time there was these problems of suspending Russian athletes a few months ahead of the world championships in Russia. We came to an agreement. Russia paid. Balakhnichev organised all of that.”

Balakhnichev denied to Le Monde that he had had such a conversation with Diack.

On Friday, the IAAF ethics commission concluded a three-day hearing into Balakhnichev, Diack’s son Papa Massata Diack, the former IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel DollĂ© and the Russian federation’s former chief coach for long-distance athletes, Alexei Melnikov.

The officials faced disciplinary hearings on charges that they covered up doping offences. All four are charged with various breaches of the IAAF’s code of ethics and could face lifetime bans with a decision expected in early January.

The IAAF charges involve the Russian runner Liliya Shobukhova, the former London marathon winner who turned whistleblower for the World Anti-Doping Agency this year, and money she paid to have her doping violations covered up.

According to testimony she has given, Shobukhova paid more than $600,000 (£435,000) for violations to be covered up so that she was not suspended.

The IAAF has banned Russia from international competition after a report by Wada’s independent commission, headed by Dick Pound, who is due to release the second part of his findings on 14 January.

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