ATHLETICS
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Athletics doping scandal 2015

It’s not just Fifa – now former athletics kingpin Lamine Diack is under investigation for corruption and money laundering

French police swoop after complaint from anti-doping body Wada

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 November, 2015, 9:55am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 November, 2015, 8:37am

Lamine Diack, the former head of world athletics, has been placed under formal investigation in France on suspicion of corruption and money laundering following a complaint from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

The inquiry, confirmed by the French financial prosecutor’s office on Wednesday, comes at a time when the image of world sport’s governing bodies is under serious scrutiny. There is a large-scale corruption investigation at soccer’s Fifa while athletics is fighting a desperate public relations rearguard battle in the face of continual doping issues.

According to French news channel iTELE, the investigation is focused on suspicions that payments were made in return for not revealing widespread doping of Russian athletes.

The prosecutor’s office did not confirm that but said its investigation started when the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) alerted it to "acts of corruption and laundering involving members of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)."

Wada said it would hold a press conference on Monday to address certain findings of its own investigation and added in a statement: "These [French] investigations are a result of information passed on by Wada’s Independent Commission [IC] to the relevant authorities."

The press conference will exclude "matters now under police investigation, which are expected to be available before the end of the year," Wada said in a later statement.

Commission chair Richard Pound will present findings of the commission’s report surrounding allegations raised during German broadcaster ARD’s December 2014 documentary on doping in Russia.

Wada launched the commission last December "to investigate the validity of allegations of doping practices; corrupt practices around sample collection and results management; and, other ineffective administration of anti-doping processes that implicate Russia, the IAAF, athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors and other members of athletes’ entourages; as well as, the accredited laboratory based in Moscow and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency," the Wada statement said.

Diack, from Senegal and an ex-long jumper who was born in 1933, headed the IAAF for the best part of a decade from 1999. He was held for questioning on Sunday together with his legal adviser Habib Cisse, who was also placed under formal inquiry on Tuesday.

Under French law, magistrates place a person under formal investigation when they believe there are indications of wrongdoing, but that does not always lead to a trial.

The investigation "concerns money movements and goes beyond doping", a source in the French judiciary said.

The Monaco-based IAAF confirmed a police swoop took place at its headquarters on Tuesday "to carry out interviews and access documentation". It said it was fully cooperating with the probe.