Former head of the world governing body of athletics, Lamine Diac, was found guilty on Wednesday by a French court of corruption for covering Russian doping cases and sentenced to four years in prison, with two years suspended. An 87-year-old Senegal, who led the International Federation of Athletics (IAAF), now renamed World Athletics for 16 years, was fined 500,000 euros ($ 600,000). The presiding judge in court in Paris, Rose-Marie Hunault, said Diak’s actions “caused serious damage to the fight against doping”.
She said that despite the punishment, she was unlikely to go to jail.
“Given your age you can expect conditional release,” she said.
Diak said he would immediately appeal the appeal.
His son, Papa Massa Diak, a former marketing consultant at the IAAF, who was tried to be held in absentia because Senegal refused to extradite him, was also convicted and sentenced to five years in prison and one million euros. The fine was imposed.
Previously one of the most influential figures in world sports, Diak was president of the IAAF from 1999 to 2015 until he was replaced by Sebastian Coe of Britain in August 2015.
Prosecutors alleged that Diak received $ 1.5 million in Russian money in exchange for the IAAF’s anti-doping branch or for the delays of 23 Russians to compete in the 2012 London Olympics and the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow permitted to.
Diak told the court that it was his decision to delay the ban after the athletes failed the test in 2011, but they denied knowing that body officials directly or indirectly demanded hundreds of euros from those thousands of athletes They were to solve their cases.
He said he was working to protect the “financial health of the IAAF” as the federation was negotiating major sponsorship contracts with the Russian bank VTB and a Russian broadcaster at the time.
Diak, who was decorated in the Kremlin in late 2011, refused to take Russian money to finance a successful campaign by Mackay Salle for the Senegalese presidency.
The court also convicted former IAAF anti-doping chief Gabriel Dole, who was sentenced to two years and fined 140,000 Euros and lawyer Habib Sise, who was Diak’s mentor. He was sentenced to three years of which two years were suspended.
Two Russian officials tried in his absence, former president of the National Athletics Federation Valentin Balakhanichev and former coach Alexey Melnikov, were sentenced to three years and two years in prison respectively.
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