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Lamine Diack, 87, the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) now World Athletics (WA) was found guilty on Wednesday 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 Sall for the 2012 election, which he won. Small has been the president since 2012.
Diack was sentenced to two years in prison for the corruption charges during his 16-year reign at the IAAF.
Diack’s lawyer claims his client was made a scapegoat
The guilty verdict in the Paris courtroom will apparently be appealed by the lawyers representing the 87-year-old Diack. He was an important figure in sport. The court also sentenced Diack to two years of suspended jail time and fined him $590,000 USD.
His lawyers said they will appeal, which will keep Diack out of jail for now. Diack did not comment as he walked out of court.
Diack’s lawyer, Simon Ndiaye, called the verdict “unjust and inhuman” and said the court made his client a “scapegoat.”
Papa Massata Diack
Diack was extradited to Paris from his native Senegal. His son Papa Massata Diack has also been charged with corruption-related crimes, however, refused to leave Senegal.
The court handed guilty verdicts to five others, including Papa Massata, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant. 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 judge said, “the Diacks worked together in diverting funds, telling Lamine Diack that there was an understanding between you and your son.”
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.
“I have been deprived of the legal right to defend myself. They said that I was not cooperating with the investigation and I categorically disagree with that,” he said.
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.