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Former World Athletics Boss, Lamine Diack, His Son & Four Others Are Jailed For Two Years

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The former head of world athletics, his son and four others were sentenced in court today in a corruption trial

The 87-year-old Senegalese man, former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations, is accused of “giving and receiving bribes”, “breach of trust” and “organized money laundering”.

He is said to have received $ 1.5 million in Russian funds in return for the anti-doping arm of the IAAF, which covered or delayed the offences of 23 Russians and to enable them to compete in the London 2012 Olympics and the World Championships in 2013.

Prosecutors have asked that Mr. Diack to serve a four-year prison term and be fined up to 500,000 euros ($ 560,000).

Diack told the court it was his decision to delay the bans after the athletes failed tests in 2011, but he denied knowing that officials at the body directly or indirectly asked the athletes for hundreds of thousands. euros to stifle their business.

He said he was acting to preserve “the financial health of the IAAF” as the federation was negotiating major sponsorship deals at the time with Russian bank VTB and a Russian broadcaster.

Diack, who was decorated in the Kremlin in late 2011, denied taking Russian funds to finance Macky Sall’s successful campaign for Senegal’s presidency.

His son Papa Massata Diack, who worked as a marketing consultant for the IAAF, remains in Senegal, which refuses to extradite him. He was tried in absentia, notably for corruption and money laundering.

At a press conference held Monday in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, Papa Massata, who is 55, declared himself “innocent” and argued that the French court did not have jurisdiction.

He said he was not a French resident and that his companies were registered in his native Senegal.

Senegalese authorities are conducting their own investigation and he faces charges similar to those filed in France.

Papa Massata accused the British authorities of being behind the charges – which he called “the biggest lie in the history of world sport” – of taking over the presidency of the IAAF.

Sebastian Coe, who took over from Lamine Diack, is British and two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500 meters.

The court heard that World Athletics was claiming 41.2 million euros in compensation from the Diacks ​​for the loss of their sponsorship.

Prosecutors are also calling for prison sentences for the former IAAF anti-doping official Gabriel Dolle, the lawyer Habib Cisse who was Lamine Diack’s advisor, as well as two Russian officials tried in their absence, former president of the national athletics federation Valentin Balakhnichev and former coach Alexei Melnikov.

Lamine Diack gave testimonies that were often inaudible and confused. One of his lawyers, William Bourdon, asked that the judges “do not make a decision that prevents him from dying with dignity, surrounded by his relatives, on his native land”.

The prosecution has asked the court to sanction a “huge breach of probity that has caused damage around the world”, even though Diack is “at the end of his life”.

The verdict does not mark the end of the Diack’s relationship with French justice. The father, a former member of the International Olympic Committee, and the son are the subject of a second investigation into suspicion of corruption in the attribution of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the postponed 2020 Games in Tokyo.

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