Report: Lamine Diack Has Confessed to Seeking 1.5 Million Euros from Russian Athletics Federation; Has Admitted That The IAAF Intentionally Slowed Doping Cases Involving Russian Athletes

December 18, 2015

According to a report published in the French paper Le Monde, former IAAF president Lamine Diack has confessed that he sought approximately 1.5 million Euros from former All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) president Valentin Balakhnichev in late 2011, which Diack said he wanted to use to fund opposition to the Senegalese government during the country’s 2012 elections. Le Monde says Diack made the confession to French police on November 2, one day after he was arrested on charges of corruption and money laundering.

In the March 2012 Senegalese election, incumbent Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade lost to the Diack-backed Macky Sall. A spokesman for Sall, who honored Diack as a Commander of the National Order of the Lion in 2015 and supported Diack after he was arrested in November, denied to Le Monde that his campaign had received any funding from Diack or Russia. Balakhnichev also has denied that Diack asked him for money to fund any elections or campaigns.

Diack at the World Athletics Gala in 2010

Diack at the World Athletics Gala in 2010

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According to transcripts acquired by Le Monde, Diack has also admitted that the IAAF delayed the suspension of Russian athletes until after the 2013 World Championships — hosted by Moscow in August of that year — due to sponsorship negotiations with Russian TV channel RTR and Russian bank VTB.

The WADA independent commission, led by Dick Pound, will issue a report on its investigation of IAAF corruption on January 14.

Other key points of the article (which is written in French) include:

  • It is not 100% clear whether Diack received the money from Balakhnichev.
  • In November 2011, Diack tasked his legal advisor Habib Cissé — who was already negotiating IAAF sponsorship contracts with Russian companies — with delivering a list of 23 Russian athletes with abnormal biological profiles to Balakhnichev. Over the next few months, Cissé made multiple trips to Russia, once returning from Moscow with 20,000 Euros.
  • Gabriel Dollé, former anti-doping director of the IAAF, admitted to French police that he agreed to slow down procedures in the doping case involving Russian marathoner Lilya Shobukhova after being told to do so during a January 2012 meeting with Diack and Cissé. Dollé was told that if he did not slow down proceedings, it would create bad publicity ahead of the 2012 Olympics, which would prejudice negotiations with Russian sponsors. Shobukhova ultimately competed in the 2012 Olympics in the marathon.
  • Dollé was also instructed to delay telling ARAF about other Russian doping positives/biological passport abnormalities and was paid at least 190,000 Euros to do so by Lamine Diack, his son Papa Massata Diack, and others.
  • Le Monde also reports that in a July 2013 email to his father, Papa Massata Diack wrote that Balakhnichev asked that Lamine take action after other IAAF administrators began to take notice of the delayed action on Russian athletes. According to Le Monde, Lamine Diack told French police that Sheikh Thiare (then the IAAF’s director of the office of the president), Nick Davies (IAAF press chief) and Pierre-Yves Garnier (then in charge of the biological passport) were offered bribes to keep quiet. Thiare and Davies denied these claims; Garnier did not respond to Le Monde‘s interview request.

You can read additional articles on Diack’s alleged confessions below (both in French):

Le MondeAthletics: how Russia was invited to finance the election campaign in Senegal
L’Equipe: The incredible confession Lamine Diack, the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federation

Update: The Telegraph now has an article out in English: Lamine Diack admits soliciting £1m from Russia

Discuss this development on our messageboard: MB: Diack confesses to soliciting bribes from Russia.