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Former president of the International Association of Athletics Federation (World Athletics) Lamine Diack is free to return to Senegal.

Due to his age, of 87, he has not spent any time in a French prison and may return, however, must pay €500,000. Surely, between his crimes or his son’s alleged crimes of extortion, they have the money. Regardless, a group named the Lamine Diack Collective is trying to raise the money to bring him home.

Family demands release

Family members of Diack in 2017 stepped-up with a campaign to secure his release by distributing a brochure of achievements supposedly “patiently pursued by a man of conviction”.

The then, 84-year-old was replaced by Sebastian Coe as IAAF chief in 2015. He was charged with corruption and aggravated money laundering as part of a French investigation on November 4, 2015. He was convicted of several charges, but not money laundering.

He was held under house arrest in Paris as the investigation went on as well as after he was convicted. The Paris court sought a four-year prison sentence. A total of five charges related to the alleged cover-up of positive drug tests for Russian athletes in exchange for money was brought forward as well.

Papa Massata Diack

His son Papa Massata Diack was also charged with crimes related to money laundering and extortion, however, Senegal and France do not have an extradition treaty and the younger Diack refused to leave. His father called his son a thug in court.

In an apparent Hail Mary 11th-hour last-ditch effort to delay Lamine Diack’s trial, Papa Massata Diack submitted documents that postponed the case until June 2020.

The trial was delayed after prosecutors received documents concerning testimony from the co-defendant.

They received three folders of notes, which apparently included testimony Papa Massata gave to investigators in Senegal hours before the start of the hearing.

The younger Diack was in charge of marketing with the IAAF and was charged with extorting would-be hosts of world championships. It is alleged that he accepted approximately 500,000 USD to give Doha the rights to host the 2019 World Athletics Championships. He had originally turned them down for the 2017 event.

The conviction

Lamine Diack was found guilty in September 2020, of accepting bribes from athletes suspected of doping. In turn, he would cover up positive test results, which would allow them to continue to compete.

Diack was also found guilty of accepting Russian money to help finance the campaign of Senegalese presidential candidate Macky Small for the 2012 election, which he won. Small has been the president since 2012.

The court handed guilty verdicts to five others, including the younger Diack. The judge said $15 million was funneled to the younger Diack’s companies, including commissions and money skimmed off broadcast agreements and various other transactions.

The others

Former IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev, also convicted in his absence handed the Russian a three-year jail sentence. Apparently, money would be confiscated from his account in Monaco, where the IAAF is based. Balakhnichev plans to appeal.

Dr. Gabriel Dolle oversaw drug testing at the IAAF, was handed a two-year suspended jail term. He was fined $163,000.

Lawyer Habib Cisse was found guilty. He was Diack’s lawyer when at the IAAF. The judge determined that Cisse was integral in the corruption that took place in the sporting organization. Russian coach Alexei Melnikov, who was tried and sentenced in his absence.