(ATR) Lamine Diack found guilty of corruption by a Paris court and sentenced to two years in prison.
Lamine Diack was IAAF president from 1999 to 2015. (ATR)
The 87-year-old Diack, who was president of the international athletics federation for nearly 16 years between 1999 and 2015, was also given another two years of suspended jail time and fined 500,000 euros ($590,000).
Diack’s lawyers said an appeal will be filed. The presiding judge in the case said that given Diack’s age it was unlikely he would serve any jail time. He has been under house arrest since November 2015.
The French court found him guilty in the cover-up of doping violations of Russian athletes while he was president of the IAAF, now known as World Athletics.
Diack, a former member of the IOC, was found guilty along with the other five people in the case, including his son Papa Massata.
The judge said the Diacks colluded to siphon $15 million from the federation to the younger Diack’s businesses.
The younger Diack was tried in absentia because he remains in Senegal, which has refused to allow him to be extradited to France. He received a five-year sentence and was fined 1 million euros ($1.18 million).
Former IAAF anti-doping chief Gabriel Dolle was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence and fined 144,000 euros ($170,400) while Diack’s former legal advisor Habib Cisse got three years, two of which were suspended, and a fine of 100,000 euros ($118,333).
Russians Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov were also found guilty in absentia. Balakhnichev, a former IAAF treasurer, was sentenced to three years. The AP
reports the court also ordered the confiscation of 1.9 million euros ($2.2 million) from his account in Monaco.
Melnikov, a former coach, received a two-year sentence.
The court awarded World Athletics 16 million euros ($18.9 million) in damages. The AP
reports the Diacks are on the hook for about a third of the money with the rest to be paid by all of the guilty parties.
In a statement, World Athletics said “As the Court acknowledged, this damage has impacted World Athletics’ finances and had a negative impact on World Athletics’ image and reputation in a deep and lasting way. We will do everything we can to recover the monies awarded, and return them to the organisation for the development of athletics globally.”
The federation, which changed its name as part of a re-branding to distance itself from the wrongs of the Diack era, added “Whilst we are disappointed this happened in our sport, we are grateful for the strong and clear decisions that have been taken against the individuals involved and charged with these crimes, and we would like to reassure everyone that the reforms our Congress approved in 2016 will ensure that similar actions by individuals can never happen again in our sport.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which was an interested party to this case, was awarded more than 300,000 euros in costs and damages.
“This is a victory for athletes and for clean sport. It shows that no one is above the law," WADA President Witold Bańka said in a statement.
"It is particularly encouraging when sports-related corruption is being taken seriously by criminal justice systems around the world, and the French authorities are to be congratulated for their diligence and commitment.”
Written by Gerard Farek
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