Doping in athletics: officials from Russia were concealed by the international federation
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Doping in athletics: officials from Russia were concealed by the international federation

23 June , 23:56Sport
In mid-September, a court in Paris will convict defendants in a corruption case at the International Association of Athletics Federations.

This is a very high-profile case with Russian participation”, - writes journalist Kirill Shulika:

“During the hearing, former IAAF President 87-year-old Senegalese Lamina Diak admitted that the IAAF hid the positive doping tests of Russians for the sake of the financial well-being of the organization. Sanctions against Russians were not introduced on time in order not to spoil Russia's image before the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow, because at that time the IAAF was negotiating sponsorship contracts with VTB Bank and VGTRK holding. This delay allowed Russian athletes to perform at the Olympic Games in London.

The verdict may become significant - for the first time the court will establish facts of corruption in Russian sport.

Among the accused are former head of the All-Russian Athletics Federation Valentin Balakhnichev (pictured) and former coach of the Russian national team Alexei Melnikov. They did not appear before the court; sentences against them will be in absentia.

For Diak and Balakhnichev, the prosecution required punishment in the form of four years in prison and millions of fines..."

The investigation was launched after the marathon Liliya Shobukhova told the German television channel ARD that she had paid the International Federation half a million dollars for participating in the 2012 Olympics. She also paid money for hiding doping, says Rambler.

Here are all the defendants in the sensational case:

  • Lamin Diak, former president of World Athletics;
  • Papa Massata Diak, son of Diak and former marketing consultant to World Athletics;
  • Habib Cisse, former legal adviser to Diack Sr.
  • Gabriel Dolle, former head of World Athletics Anti-Doping Service;
  • Valentin Balakhnichev, former president of VFLA and treasurer of World Athletics;
  • Alexey Melnikov, former coach of the Russian national athletics team in the endurance group.

Diak is accused of receiving a multi-million dollar bribe for concealing doping cases: the prosecutor’s office claims that he directly or indirectly demanded $ 3.9 million from the Russians. The investigation believes that he was in collusion with Balakhnichev. All funds allegedly went to finance political campaigns in Senegal, including the election campaign of the country's president Maki Salla. There was also corruption with the Olympic Games. It is said that they paid for the votes when choosing the Games in Rio and Tokyo.

Ламина Диак

Russia said it would not extradite Melnikov and Balakhnichev, who denied any involvement in the case.

- It is difficult for me to comment on a case in which I do not participate at all. They were completely not interested in my figure, although a representative of the French prosecutor general’s office, deputy prosecutor general came here (to Russia) and interrogated me as a witness.

I don’t know on the basis of the facts on which they demand such a severe punishment for me, without inviting me to court, without questioning, and not including me as a participant in the process. I was not even informed of the charge. This is an illegal court, I do not accept the results of this court.

(...)

And here is how Diak explained why he allowed the “dirty” Russians to speak at the Olympics and the World Cup in Moscow.

This was mainly done for the financial well-being of the IAAF. It was necessary to maintain the financial health of the organization, and I was ready to make this compromise..."

***

A year ago, the popular channel Cello Case also reported other facts of corruption in Russian sports:

“All-Russia Athletic Federation President Dmitry Shlyakhtin falsified the evidences in the doping case of high jumper Danil Lysenko. The official was ratted out to the International Association of Athletics Federations by the athlete and his agent..."

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