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Former world athletics chief under investigation in French corruption probe

© Greg Baker (file), AFP | Lamine Diack speaks during a press conference in Beijing ahead of the 2015 IAAF World Championships on August 21, 2015

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-11-04

The former head of the international athletics federation, the IAAF, has been placed under formal investigation as part of a French probe into suspected corruption in covering up doping cases, France’s financial prosecutor’s office said Wednesday.

In a statement sent to Reuters, the prosecutor’s office said magistrates had placed Lamine Diack, the 82-year-old Senegalese who stood down as IAAF president in August, under formal inquiry along with his legal adviser Habib Cissé.

A doctor in charge of anti-doping affairs at the IAAF has been taken into custody also as part of the inquiry, which was prompted by a complaint from the World Anti-Doping Agency, the statement said.

The IAAF confirmed an investigation was underway by French authorities and said it would fully cooperate.

A source in the French judiciary said the formal inquiry followed a police swoop at the organisation’s headquarters on Tuesday and that “it concerns money movements and goes beyond doping”.

French news channel iTELE reported that the investigation is focused on suspicions that payments were made in return for not revealing the doping of Russian athletes.

“The IAAF is fully cooperating with all investigations as it has been from the beginning of the process,” the IAAF said in a statement.

“As part of the French investigation, police visited the IAAF HQ offices yesterday to carry out interviews and to access documentation. The IAAF will make no further comment at this time.”

Diack, a former long jumper who was born in June 1933, headed the athletics body for the best part of a decade from 1999, before being replaced this year by Sebastian Coe.

His son, Papa Massata Diack, was forced to resign as a marketing executive with the IAAF last year after being accused of involvement in corruption aimed at covering up doping scandals in Russia.

IAAF treasurer and president of the Russian Federation, Valentin Balakhnishev, was also implicated and stripped of his functions by the IAAF.


Date created : 2015-11-04


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