The scandal had dealt a severe blow to the image of sport: the former world boss of athletics, Lamine Diack, is expected this Monday, June 8 at the Paris court to be tried with his son and four alleged actors of a corruption pact to protect doped Russian athletes.
After a false start in January due to procedural problems, the 87-year-old Senegalese faces up to ten years in prison before the 32e correctional chamber, where he appears for active and passive corruption, breach of trust and money laundering in an organized gang.
The case had precipitated the fall of this cacique of world sport with a thousand lives, a former sportsman, then politician, who became the first non-European leader of the International Athletics Federation (IAAF, 1999-2015), and now accused by the prosecution. national financier to have set up “a true criminal organization”.
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A business with multiple ramifications
Since his arrest in Paris in November 2015, the pile of dark files in international sport has grown: Russia has been accused of “institutional doping” and Lamine Diack is also being prosecuted for corruption in Paris, suspected of having minted his influence in the attribution of the Olympic Games of Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. Charges which he refutes. “Lamine Diack is combative. He wants to defend himself and he wants to wash his honor, he knows how he led the institution, “warns his lawyer Me Simon Ndiaye.
At his trial, he is expected with one of his former advisers, lawyer Habib Cissé, and the former head of the IAAF anti-doping service, Gabriel Dollé, tried for passive bribery.
If Lamine Diack has been banned from leaving the country, French justice has never been able to approach one of the key suspects, his son Papa Massata Diack, a former IAAF marketing consultant who has asked for the trial to be postponed from Dakar.
Two other defendants are said to be missing, former President of the Russian Athletics Federation Valentin Balakhnitchev, and former national long-distance running coach Alexei Melnikov.
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Sport, business, doping and geopolitics
The business started in the early 2010s, with the arrival in the anti-doping arsenal of the biological passport, which makes it possible to detect suspicious blood variations. The noose tightens on Russia and in November 2011, a list of 23 athletes suspected of doping at EPO was established.
At the same time, Lamine Diack, her son and Habib Cissé go to Moscow. Disciplinary files, they drag on, allowing several athletes to participate in the London 2012 Olympics. Some will be sacred (Kirdyapkin 50 km walk, Zaripova 3,000 steeplechase), before being sanctioned and expelled.
Lamine Diack acknowledged that the sanctions had been staggered to avoid sinking the image of Russia and favor negotiations on TV rights and sponsors for the 2013 Worlds in Moscow. While in contact with the Kremlin, he also conceded that he had obtained 1.5 million euros from Russia to campaign in the 2012 Senegalese presidential campaign against the outgoing Abdoulaye Wade, ultimately defeated by Macky Sall . French judges deplored Senegal’s lack of cooperation and note in their order that Papa Massata Diack received a diplomatic passport in 2014.
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An extraordinary trial
But for Lamine Diack’s lawyers, the Russian athletes were finally punished (most in 2014) and their client wanted to save the IAAF from bankruptcy.
The case came to light because the marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova, finally suspended, asked her blackmailers for a refund. A transfer of 300,000 euros to his profit made it possible to go back to Papa Massata Diack. The names of several other athletes and the amounts appear on notes seized from Habib Cisse, suggesting that they paid for protection, but the trace of the money was not found.
Lamine Diack is also on trial for allowing her son to appropriate several million euros in negotiations with sponsors, either by taxing his companies as intermediaries, or by awarding “exorbitant” commissions. The international federation, civil party, claims 24.6 million euros in damages from defendants on this aspect, out of a total loss which it estimates at 41million euros.
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