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Corruption trial of Lamine Diack opens

Corruption trial of Lamine Diack opens

Senegal

<p><strong>Lamine Diack, the former head of athletics’ governing body, goes on trial in Paris on Monday on charges of corruption and money laundering linked to a Russian doping scandal.</strong></p> <p>Prosecutors allege he solicited 3.45 million euros ($3.89 million) from athletes suspected of doping to cover up the allegations and allow them to continue competing, including in the 2012 London Olympics.</p> <p>Diack, who turned 87 on Sunday, has denied wrongdoing. His lawyers have said the accusations are baseless.</p> <p>Diack, from Senegal, led the governing <span class="caps">IAAF</span>, now renamed World Athletics, from 1999-2015 and was among the most influential men in the sport. He lives under house arrest in Paris and faces a jail sentence of up to 10 years if convicted.</p> <p>The trial had been due to start in January but was postponed after new documents containing testimony from his son and co-defendant, Papa Massata Diack, were submitted to the court. </p> <p>Senegal has refused to extradite Papa Massata, who worked as a marketing consultant for the <span class="caps">IAAF</span>. He also faces charges of money laundering, corruption and breach of trust, according to the indictment, and will be tried in absentia.</p> <p>The other defendants are Habib Cisse, Diack’s former lawyer at the <span class="caps">IAAF</span>; Gabriel Dolle, who oversaw doping tests at the <span class="caps">IAAF</span>; and Russians Valentin Balakhnitchev and Alexei Melnikov, who were Russia’s athletics’ federation chief and head athletics coach respectively at the time of the alleged cover-up.</p> <p>Investigators at the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (<span class="caps">PNF</span>) describe a web of corruption in world athletics under Diack’s leadership.</p> <p>In a separate case, French prosecutors are investigating alleged bribes related to the Olympics and World Athletics Championships.</p> <p>They suspect Tokyo’s bidding committee bribed the Diacks in 2013 to secure votes, which the committee has denied.</p> <p>Sebastian Coe, Diack’s successor, has undertaken to rebuild trust in athletics and has introduced changes to the sport’s governance. </p> <p><strong><em>Agencies</em></strong></p>
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