In order to sanction what the president of the tribunal, Rose-Marie Hunault, described as “Global and unique system of corruption within the IAAF [la fédération internationale d’athlétisme] », the judges of the 32e Correctional Chamber of the Paris Judicial Court pronounced, Wednesday, September 16, prison sentences and fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of euros.
None of the six defendants, present or not at the trial in June, were spared: all were found guilty, in particular of having hidden cases of doping in Russian athletics in exchange for bribes, estimated to 3.45 million euros. Boss of the IAAF from 1999 to 2015 and central figure in the trial, Senegalese Lamine Diack, 87, was sentenced to four years in prison, two of which were suspended, as well as a fine of 500,000 euros. His lawyers said they would appeal the ruling.
Using “His authority as president”, Mr. Diack, who had himself decided to delay the sanctions against the Russians, “Seriously undermined the fight against doping” and “Broken the rules” of the institution he headed, the court said. While he had justified this choice by negotiating sponsorship contracts with Russian companies and the need to ensure the financial health of the IAAF, the judges dismissed this argument and stressed that it was “Found guilty over the same period of acts of breach of trust which generated proceeds in the order of 15 million dollars [12,7 millions d’euros] for the benefit of his son Papa Massata Diack ”.
About Lamine Diack, the court “Notes that, if he has expressed regret, in view of the task that the legal procedure represented in his exceptional personal journey to allow access to sport to all (…), at no time did he question the merits of his decisions, which however were in total contradiction with the values he defends ”.
Some missing evidence
Sentenced for “corruption” and “breach of trust”, the octogenarian was however released, like his son, of the offense of “money laundering in an organized gang”. He admitted to having benefited from 1.5 million dollars paid by the Russians, in cash, to finance elections in Senegal. But the court did not find any trace of these sums of money. Some pieces of the puzzle remained missing, in the absence from the hearing of Papa Massata Diack, former marketing consultant of the IAAF. Targeted by an international arrest warrant, “PMD”, who lives in recluse in Dakar, was sentenced to five years in prison and a million euros fine, for complicity in corruption and concealment of breach of trust.
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