Athletics Athletics

IAAF in new corruption claims

Lamine Diack's son Papa Massata Diack pictured in Dakar on February 8, 2015
Lamine Diack’s son Papa Massata Diack pictured in Dakar on February 8, 2015

BERLIN, Germany, Nov 25 – The wanted son of ousted international athletics president Lamine Diack took millions of euros from Russian competitors in return for “total protection” from failed doping tests, a new investigation said Friday.

Germany’s ARD television and France’s Le Monde newspaper said six athletes each paid between 300,000 and 700,000 euros ($318,000-$740,000) to top officials including Papa Massata Diack who is wanted by French authorities but in hiding in his native Senegal.

His father, Lamine Diack, is under house arrest in France.

“The organised cover-up of suspected doping in the world of track and field has as such assumed a previously unimagined scale,” said ARD. “And once again, it is primarily athletes from one nation under scrutiny: Russia.”

The two media organisations said their information were based on files held by Paris financial crime prosecutors who are investigating corruption allegations against the Diacks.

At least six Russian athletes had paid to have their suspicious doping test results covered up, including long-distance runner Liliya Shobukhova, walkers Valeriy Borchin, Olga Kaniskina and Vladimir Kanaikin and Sergey Kirdyapkin as well as steeplechase runner Yuliya Zaripova, the report said.

Former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack, seen in 2015, is accused of allowing corruption to flourish during his 1999 to 2015 stewardship of the organization © AFP/File / Greg Baker

The media organisations also quoted letters sent by the then president of Russia’s athletics federation, Valentin Balakhnichev, who had threatened to go public with the doping deal if the IAAF fails to offer the immunity it had promised.

“Let us remind you that the background of these six cases from the very beginning was very far from any legal and ethical frames,” according to the letter addressed to IAAF officials by Balakhnichev dated July 30, 2014.

“You decided to use multiple ABP (athlete biological passport) violations by the Russian athletes as an excellent way for your own prosperity. In 2011, when we faced 19 shocking ABP cases including Olympic and world champions, you offered us a deal.

“Naming it as a deal, we are too much diplomatic. It was cynical and cruel blackmail,” he added.

Balakhnichev stepped down from his post as Russian athletics chief a week after ARD aired its first documentary in December 2014 alleging systematic doping in Russian athletics.

Investigations into the allegations have since uncovered rampant Russian state-run doping at the Sochi Olympics and other events.