News 5 November 2015

French police arrest Diack on corruption charges

French police have arrested Lamine Diack over allegations that he accepted money from Russian authorities in order to cover up positive doping tests. The situation could prove to be an embarrassment for Sebastian Coe, who took over from Diack as President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at the end of August. “I expressed my uncompromising position on the issue of doping in athletics and the importance for the sport to build trust and defend clean athletes at all times”, he said in a media statement issued yesterday following a visit to Moscow.

In a statement issued this morning via email, the IAAF confirmed that French police had visited its offices as part of the investigation to ‘carry out interviews and to access documentation’. It confirmed that the French police investigation is separate from investigations being carried out by its own independent Ethics Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) into its anti-doping rules and regulations. “In light of the criminal investigation against Mr Lamine Diack, who is an IOC honorary member, I have decided to refer this case to the IOC’s Ethics’ Commission”, said Pâquerette Zappelli, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

‘WADA is aware of the ongoing criminal investigations relating to sport officials and allegations of corruption and money-laundering, as announced by the French authorities earlier today’, read a statement. ‘These investigations are a result of information passed on by WADA’s Independent Commission (IC) to the relevant authorities’. That Independent Commission will publish the results of its investigation into allegations of systematic doping in Russian athletics made in a December 2014 documentary on 9 November, but will exclude ‘those portions relating to the matters now under police investigation’. The matters under police investigation are expected to be available before the end of the year.

French police also took Gabriel Dollé, who resigned last year as director of its medical and anti-doping department after being questioned by the IAAF Ethics Committee, into custody, reports The Guardian. Diack’s Legal Adviser, Habib Cissé has also been placed under investigation due to the evidence provided by WADA, reports the newspaper.

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