News 20 January 2016

IAAF investigating all sponsorship & TV payments

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has confirmed that its forensic review of operations and finance will encompass all sponsorship and television deals in order to find out exactly where the money went. This will include a US$25 million sponsorship agreement with Russian bank VTB (pictured), agreed by Papa Massata Diack in 2012 ahead of the 2013 Moscow IAAF World Championships.

The IAAF’s accounts are currently not publicly published, however they are professionally audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). When French police arrested Lamine Diack on corruption charges in November last year, they also took hard discs from a number of IAAF staff. The review will ascertain that all the payments recorded in the audited accounts are for what they say they are for. It is understood that given the police investigation, the IAAF is keen to prove that any accounting fraud was perpetrated by individual employees and not by IAAF management.

“The past financial records of the IAAF are part of the internal forensic financial review which is being carried out by teams from Deloitte and Freshfields and headed by Lord Deighton”, said an IAAF spokesperson. “This review has been ongoing since November and will report to Council in March. That of course includes VTB’s sponsorship and all associated payments, as VTB were an official IAAF partner.”

In its second report, the Independent Commission (IC) of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found that ’an issue had arisen regarding the TV rights to the Championships that had been awarded in 2009 to the IAAF. The “problem” is described as having a $6 million US price tag. The three individuals from the IAAF met with Balakhnichev [Valentin, former IAAF Treasurer & Russian athletics federation President] in a hotel in Moscow. Once again, the IC has insufficient information to comment further on this matter. However, it is known that at this point PMD was able to bring in a sponsorship arrangement with the VTB Bank worth $25 million US.’

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