September 14, 2018

Ex-IAAF chief Diack faces fresh charges

Ex-IAAF chief Diack faces fresh charges

Lamine Diack

French authorities have added to former IAAF president Lamine Diack’s legal problems by charging him with favouring his son in negotiations over sponsorship and TV rights, sources close to the case revealed on Friday.

Lamine Diack

Diack was head of the governing body of global athletics from 1999 until his arrest in France in 2015.

He was charged at the time with taking millions of dollars to cover up failed Russian doping tests along with two other IAAF officials.

A tribunal led by anti-corruption judge Renaud van Ruymbeke has continued to investigate the 85-year-old, who is forbidden to leave France.

The latest charges were brought on June 26 and accuse Diack of a “breach of trust.”

They stem from the cooperation of the IAAF, now led by Diack’s former vice president Sebastian Coe, which gave investigators copies of all its sponsorship contracts from 2008 to 2015.

Diack is accused of exploiting his position to enable his son Papa Massata Diack, known as PMD, “to appropriate IAAF receipts from sponsors”, including Chinese broadcaster CCTV, Russian state bank VTB, Samsung of South Korea and Chinese oil refiner Sinopec.

PMD has been on Interpol’s most wanted list since December 2015 but is sheltering in Dakar as the Senegalese government refuses to extradite him to France.

At the court appearance in June, van Ruymbeke made an inventory of PMD’s invoices to the IAAF, some of which were sent directly to Lamine Diack. In 2012, the total was $501,206 (429,000 euros at the time). In 2014, it was $825,955.

“Why did you agree to give your son so many advantages?” van Ruymbeke asked.

After the collapse of ISL, the Swiss sports rights broker that went bust in 2001, the IAAF sold its commercial rights to Dentsu. The Japanese company in turn subcontracted rights to AMS, a company founded by ex-ISL staff. Both have connections with PMD.

In 2014, with the doping crisis looming, Lamine Diack signed a contract extension with Dentsu running from 2020 to 2029.

“Why did you tie the hands of the IAAF for such a long time with Dentsu and AMS,” van Ruymbeke asked. “Did not you want to prolong a situation that directly benefited your son, who had contracts with Dentsu and AMS?”

Last September, PMD told L’Obs, a French magazine: “I earn my living by taking commissions on the business I bring in. Sometimes 10 percent, sometimes 15 percent, sometimes 20 percent.”

Since the arrest in 2015 the Diacks have also been the subject of investigations in other countries, including South Korea, the United States and Brazil, where suspicion focuses on the Rio Olympics.