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Ex-IAAF president Diack given prison sentence, fined $590,000 in corruption trial

Lamine Diack leaves the courthouse in Paris on June 10, 2020 (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Lamine Diack, the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has been found guilty of corruption following charges associated with the Russian doping scandal and sentenced to two years in prison.

The 87-year-old was also fined $590,000 (€497,600) as a ruling was today (Wednesday) handed down by a Paris court.

He has been found guilty of multiple corruption charges and of breach of trust but was acquitted of a money laundering charge.

Prosecutors accused the Senegalese of soliciting €3.45m ($4.09m) from athletes suspected of doping, many of them Russian, to cover up their doping results.

Diack, who served as the president of the IAAF (now known as World Athletics) from 1999 to 2015, was put under house arrest at the end of 2015 and placed under formal investigation by French police as part of the corruption inquiry.

Handing down the sentencing, judge Rose-Marie Hunault said of the pay-off scheme: “The money was paid in exchange for a program of ‘full protection’,” adding, in quotes cited by AP, that the scheme allowed athletes who should have been suspended “purely and simply to escape sanctions”.

Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant, was sentenced in his absence to five years in prison and fined $1.17m. Papa Massata Diack fled to Senegal in 2015 and the Senegalese authorities have refused to extradite him.

The judge said that $15m was diverted to the younger Diack’s companies, including commissions and money made from commercial rights deals while his father was the IAAF president.

Under questioning in June, Lamine Diack said he intervened in the way the federation dealt with doping by Russian athletes to protect sponsorship deals and to avoid tarnishing Moscow’s hosting of the 2013 World Athletics Championships.

Responding to questions from a panel of judges, Diack suggested that he had deliberately ‘spread out’ doping sanctions to avoid the commercial repercussions of having a group of Russian athletes sanctioned at the same time. He argued that he had done this so as not to endanger negotiations over a sponsorship contract with Russian bank VTB.