Former International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) president Lamine Diack of Senegal was arrested and charged with corruption and money laundering in France on Monday, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
The 82-year-old, who earlier this year stepped down as the leader of the organization after 16 years at the helm, is suspected of taking at least 200,000 euros from Russia to cover up positive doping tests, including disgraced marathoner Liliya Shobukhova and others. According to previous reports, Shobukhova claimed she and her husband paid the Russian federation prior to the 2012 Olympic in three separate installments after being threatened that she “could have problems”—i.e., she failed a doping test—and be forced to miss the London Games. German broadcaster ARD reported last year that when Shobukhova was handed her two-year ban by the Russian federation in April 2014, her husband received a 300,000 euro ($370,000) refund, adding it had linked the transfer to Russian federation president Valentin Balakhnichev, who is also the IAAF treasurer.
Habib Cisse, a legal adviser to Diack, and Gabriel Dolle, who was the director of the IAAF’s anti-doping department, are also under investigation by French authorities. The IAAF—now headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe of Great Britain—said it is “fully cooperating with all investigations as it has been from the beginning of the process.”
According to the AP report on Wednesday, the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) first approached French prosecutors in August with evidence that Diack pocketed money from the Russian athletics federation to cover up indeterminate number of positive doping tests. WADA is also investigating a separate report by ARD that a third of all the medalists in the distance events at the Olympic Games and World Championships from 2001-2012 had blood values that were “highly suggestive of doping or at the very least abnormal”—a claim based on information that was leaked from an International Association of Athletics Federations database of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes.
Coe, who took ARD’s allegations as a “declaration of war on my sport” just prior to being elected IAAF president in August, is said to be cooperating with French authorities in the probe against Diack.