Diack facing corruption investigation
In another blow to the credibility of a major sports federation, former IAAF President Lamine Diack has been placed under criminal investigation on suspicion of taking more than $1 million in bribes from Russia to cover up positive doping tests.
French prosecutors said yesterday that Diack is being investigated on corruption and money-laundering charges. Diack and other IAAF officials are suspected of taking money in 2011 to allow at least six Russian athletes to continue competing, some of them at the 2012 London Olympics, when then they should been banned for doping.
"They decided not to act and now we understand why. It was in exchange for money," Jean-Yves Lourgouilloux, assistant prosecutor at the French office that handles financial prosecutions, told The Associated Press.
He said Diack is suspected of pocketing in the region of EU1 million (US$1.2 million), paid by the Russian athletics federation, some of it in cash.
A legal adviser to Diack, Habib Cisse, also was placed under investigation by judges acting on evidence provided by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Diack, a former long jumper, stepped down in August, at the age of 82, after nearly 16 years in charge of track and field's governing body.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was referring Diack's case to its ethics commission.
Diack is now an honorary IOC member after serving on the committee for 15 years until 2014.
With FIFA President Sepp Blatter also facing a criminal corruption investigation, two of the most powerful governing bodies in sports are now in crisis.
Diack and Cisse were taken into police custody on Sunday and held until Tuesday. Diack, who is Senegalese, was released on 500,000 euro ($550,000) bail, ordered to turn in his passport and not leave France, Lourgouilloux said. Habib also is barred from leaving the country.
Police also visited the IAAF headquarters in Monaco on Tuesday "to carry out interviews and to access documentation," the IAAF said.