Lamine Diack, former athletics chief convicted of corruption, dies

Dakar, Senegal – Lamine Diack, the controversial longtime athletics leader who was convicted of extorting money from athletes and accused of accepting bribes in an organizing vote for the Olympics , has died, his family said. He was 88 years old.

Awa Diack, niece of the former member of the International Olympic Committee, told The Associated Press that “my uncle Lamine Diack died Thursday through Friday evening.”

Diack led the governing body of athletics – then known as the IAAF, now World Athletics – for 16 years. Allegations of wrongdoing emerged soon after Diack’s leadership in his sport ended.

Diack died in his home country of Senegal, where he was allowed to return from France this year after being under house arrest for several years and then sentenced on various corruption charges related to abuses of his prominent positions in world sport.

“With the death of Lamine Diack, Senegal loses one of its most illustrious sons,” said the president of this West African country. Macky sal said via Twitter.

A former politician in Senegal, Diack became head of the IAAF in 1999 and saw the sport flourish during his tenure, in part because of the popularity of the sprinter. Usain Bolt.

Behind the scenes, Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack have been involved in reprehensible acts which would undermine the integrity of their sport and in the contests and votes of the IOC for the choice of Olympic host cities.

They were linked to extorting money from runners, to cover up their doping cases ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, and receiving bribes from Brazilian officials to help ensure Rio de Janeiro is chosen as host of the 2016 Olympics. Among his opponents was a candidacy from Chicago supported in the vote in Denmark by the then president Barack obama.

An ongoing French investigation has linked Papa Massata Diack to financial wrongdoing related to Tokyo’s winning bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

Diack was sentenced to four years in prison, two of which were suspended, in September 2020 for covering up the payment of bribes by Russian athletes involved in doping cases and Russia’s funding of political campaigns in Senegal .

In May, Diack returned home to Senegal from France, where he had been under house arrest, after a local football club posted bail of around $ 600,000 to let him go.

Diack was convicted of several corruption charges during his tenure, some of which were linked to the doping scandal in Russia. Her son was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison.

The conviction of the former IAAF president marked a spectacular disgrace for such an influential figure in the world of Olympic sports.

During the conviction last week in Brazil of its former top Olympic official Carlos nuzman, the court heard that bribes had been paid so that the Diack family could help secure several IOC votes for Rio in 2009.

The multi-year case also involved one of Africa’s top track and field athletes, a four-time Olympic medalist Frank fredericks from Namibia who rose as an IOC member to sit on its Executive Board. The IOC suspended Fredericks after French investigators revealed he received a payment of $ 300,000 on Rio’s vote day in October 2009 via the Diacks.

In his own trial, Lamine Diack was also convicted of participating in a scheme to extract $ 3.8 million in bribes from Russian athletes suspected of doping.

The silence money allowed the athletes, who should have been suspended, to continue to compete. Diack was also convicted of breach of trust but acquitted of money laundering.

His son, Papa Massata, worked for a long time as a marketing consultant for the IAAF. The French judge said $ 15 million had been funneled to young Diack’s companies from various contracts brokered by the IAAF while his father was in charge.

Even before becoming president of the IAAF, Lamine Diack received irregular cash payments from the Swiss sports marketing agency ISL, which was later at the center of a bribe scandal that rocked the world football organization FIFA.

The IOC Ethics Commission officially warned Diack in 2011 after a British television show detailed ISL payments to Diack in 1993 amounting to $ 30,000 and 30,000 French francs. At the time, Diack was vice president of the IAAF, which was negotiating a deal with the marketing agency.

Diack was a full member of the IOC for 15 years until 2014, then obtained an honorary member title which ended the following year when the extortion of athletes was detailed as part of the doping scandal. Russian.

During the French investigation, Diack reportedly said during questioning that he requested around $ 1.6 million from Russian interests in 2011 to support opposition candidates in the upcoming elections in Senegal. The 2012 presidential vote was won by Sall, who later denied getting any funding from Diack for his campaign.

Sall wrote on Twitter that Diack was “a tall man. My most sincere condolences to the whole Nation. “

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