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IAAF orders life bans over doping bribes

© AFP/Stringer | A picture taken on September 23, 2009, in Moscow shows a technician of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory.

© AFP/Stringer | A picture taken on September 23, 2009, in Moscow shows a technician of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory.

PARIS, January 7 – The IAAF ethics commission on Thursday banned for life former world body treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev and a son of former president Lamine Diack over bribes taken to cover up doping failures by Russian athletes.

The commission also ordered a life ban against former Russian coach Alexei Melnikov and a five year suspension for former world body anti-doping doctor Gabriel Dolle.

“Any lesser sanction would not meet the gravity of their offences,” the commission said in announcing the bans.

Papa Massata Diack, Balakhnichev and Melnikov also face fines of between $15,000-$25,000 ((13,800-23,000 euros).

Papa Massata Diack and his father Lamine Diack, who stepped down as IAAF president in August, and Balakhnichev are all under investigation by French police over hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to cover up doping offences.

Lamine Diack is alleged to have received one million euros ($1.1 million) alone. His son acted as a marketing consultant to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) until forced to stand down over the scandals.

The IAAF ethics commission looked into charges that Russian runner Liliya Shobukhova, who won the 2012 London Olympics women’s marathon, paid more than $600,000 to have her doping violations covered up.

According to the testimony, some 300,000 euros ($325,000) was paid back to Shobukhova through a Singapore company in 2014 in a bid to obtain her silence over the bribes.

But Shobukhova turned whistleblower for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which has been investigating widespread doping in Russian support.

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Russia has been suspended by the IAAF and now faces a race against time to be readmitted in time for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

Shobukhova is now serving a reduced ban for her doping failures.

WADA is to release a new report on doping in athletics on January 14 which is expected to implicate new countries.

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