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The beginning of the investigation by French authorities on disgraced former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Lamine Diack, is now becoming public knowledge and may be the start of international drama that could see a trickle down of accusations of corruption and blame-game tactics to all sorts of administrators. Many heads may roll and currently Diack is blaming two notorious shysters.
According to Le Monde Diack admitted on November 2nd to French investigators that he accepted bribe money of up to 1.5 million euros from the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF), in exchange for the slowing or covering up of positive Russian drug tests from becoming public. According to the 82-year-old, the Russian money financed the 2012 presidential campaign in his native Senegal of Macky Sall against incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade; Sall won.
According to Eurosport, Diack’s lawyers released a statement saying that he did not fund Sall’s presidential campaign.
If he did, it is apparently a shock to Senegalese politics, according to French newspaper, Le Monde. It is a veritable bomb if it is true.
Diack has been indicted for “passive corruption” and “aggravated laundering” by French authorities. Diack was the President of the IAAF from December 1999 to August 2015. He stepped down in 2015; the position has been filled by Lord Sebastian Coe.
Diack told the authorities, “It was Valentin Balakhnichev who organized it all.” Balakhnichev is the disgraced former president and treasurer of the Russian governing body, ARAF.
A published quote that is loosely translated from French to English reads:
“This included financing the movement of young people in order to campaign and educate people about their civic duty…
…So I needed financing to rent vehicles, meeting rooms to produce leaflets in all the villages and all the neighborhoods of the city. Mr. Balakhnichev was part of the Putin team and at that time there were these problem suspensions of Russian athletes just months before world championships in Russia. We agreed and Russia has been supportive. It was Balakhnichev who organized everything. Papa Massata, (Lamine’s son), took care of the financing with Balakhnichev.”
Is the elder Diack throwing Balakhnichev and his own son under the bus?
The younger Diack hired a law firm from New York to send a cease and desist letter to Athletics Illustrated as a SLAPP-style warning. The letter reads:
Re: Urgent – Article published on July 30th, 2015 on the Athletics Illustrated website
On July 30th, 2015, an article entitled “WILL LORD SEBASTIAN COE SAVE THE WORLD OF ATHLETICS?” was published on the Athletics Illustrated website. This article, which has been accessible on the website since then, contains defamatory allegations made against our client, Mr Papa Massata Diack. We hereby inform you that such allegations hurt our client’s reputation and that a person who makes or repeat these allegations is personally liable for defamation. We would therefore ask you to withdraw this publication without delay. In case Athletics Illustrated fails to withdraw this article within 2 days after receipt of this formal notice, our client reserves the right to bring legal proceedings.
Right. And the allegations are so often repeated in the media that it is now common knowledge. And Le Monde reports from documents attained from French authorities, that Papa Massata’s own father is including him in the corruption allegations. I shall forward the above letter to him; a family Christmas present, if you will.
Contacted by Le Monde, the Senegalese president denies the claims: “We have not received any funding from Mr. Lamine Diack, let alone Russia, assures El Hadj Kasse, Senegalese Minister for the presidency of communication. We financed our campaign from our own resources and our activists. We have not conducted a campaign in the US, all Senegalese can attest. ”
Geography is clearly not the Communication specialist’s strong point.
According to Mr. Diack, there was “no written agreement” between him and Valentin Balakhnichev. “When I requested assistance from Balakhnichev,” added Mr. Diack, “I told him to win the elections, I would need about 1.5 million.”
“What was his reaction?” Asked investigators, “He (Balakhnichev) said, “We will try to find them (the funds), no problem,” replied Lamine Diack.
“Neither I nor my federation have been involved in such a discussion or matter with Mr. Diack, said Valentin Balakhnichev. This type of business is not in our interest and power. We cannot interfere in the internal affairs of Senegal. For me it is clear.”
Neither the younger or older Diack nor Balakhnichev can be trusted; they are all under investigation for bribery, extortion and covering up positive doping tests. The younger Diack, as widely reported, is currently being investigated for corruption in apparently asking for and accepting bribe(s) in respect to awarding the 2019 IAAF World Track and Field Championships to Doha, Qatar as well as covering up Russian doping.
Stay tuned, something just hit a fan.