A Paris court has heard allegations that leading athletes hushed up suspected doping by giving millions of euros in illicit payoffs to corrupt administrators.

The claims emerged as the trial began of Lamine Diack, the disgraced former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), who was once an influential leader in Olympic sports.

Mr Diack, 87, was in court for the first of six days of hearings that will weigh evidence that his presidency of track and field’s governing body was riddled with corruption. It is claimed that athletes raced against competitors suspected of doping, who have since given evidence that they were paid to keep competing.

He faces a number of charges including corruption, money laundering and breach of trust.

During his time at the IAAF Diack was one of the most influential men in Olympic sports and was at the helm when Usain Bolt brought track and field to a wider audience.

Diack was arrested in France in November 2015.


Prosecutors say he directly or indirectly solicited 3.45 million euros (£3.08million) from athletes suspected by the IAAF of doping who paid to have their names cleared so they could continue competing.

A Russian marathon runner told investigators that she alone paid 450,000 euros, a large chunk of which was subsequently refunded to her when she was later banned from competing despite the alleged pay-off.

Diack is also being tried for his alleged involvement in a $1.5 million (£1.18 million) payment from Russia for use in electoral politics in his native Senegal which prosecutors say was in exchange for slowing down doping cases targeting Russian athletes.


He is accused of enabling his son to embezzle IAAF sponsorship revenue from a number of sponsors including revenue from Russia’s VTB Bank, Chinese oil firm Sinopec and broadcaster CCTV, South Korean tech giant Samsung and others.

His son, Papa Massata Diack, also faces corruption, money laundering and breach of trust charges, however, Senegal has refused France’s extradition requests for him.

Lamine Diack was detained on a trip to France in 2015 and has been forbidden from leaving the country since.

Also being tried for corruption are a lawyer who advised Diack, Habib Cisse, and a doctor, Gabriel Dolle, who oversaw drug-testing at the IAAF and is accused of taking payments to delay doping cases. Both men were in court.

Two Russians are also on trial but were not present: Valentin Balakhnichev, a former IAAF treasurer, and Alexei Melnikov, a coach who led Russia’s long-distance running program.

Source: Jane Clinton