From Inside the Games
Valentin Balakhnichev, former President of the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF), has denied involvement in new claims that six athletes from the country were involved in paying top officials from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to avoid having adverse doping results made public.
French newspaper Le Monde and German television broadcaster ARD today published stories suggesting that the scope of the cover-up for Russian athletes was larger than previously suspected – the case of marathon runner Lilia Shobukhova came to light last year – and resulted in their protection to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The latest revelations stem from documents reportedly uncovered by the Paris prosecutors’ office for financial crimes, which is investigating allegations of blackmail and financial corruption against the former IAAF President Lamine Diack and other individuals including his son, Papa Massata Diack that were brought to light by ARD.
Now investigators claim that five of Shobukhova’s compatriots – walkers Valeriy Borchin, Olga Kaniskina, Vladimir Kanaykin and Sergey Kirdyakpkin, as well as 3,000 metres steeplechaser Yuliya Zaripova – were also involved in paying key figures within the IAAF sums ranging from €300,000 (£255,000/$318,000) to €700,000 (£595,000/$740,000) to avoid the emergence of suspicious blood test results.
ARD has published what is claims is an email from Balakhnichev to the IAAF on July 30 in 2014 in which he threatens to expose the “cynical and cruel” blackmail which he suggests was accompanied by “the threat of withdrawing the WCH 2013” from Moscow.
The Russian capital had been awarded the 2013 IAAF World Championships in 2007.