22 November 2016

Nick Davies admits accepting payment from Papa Diack in 2013

Nick Davies, Director of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President’s office, has told the Daily Mail that he accepted a payment from Papa Massata Diack, which he understood to be for hard work and to ensure that the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow were a success. “I was conned and never for a second was I told, or thought, this money was to ensure cover-ups of doping in Russia”, Davies told the newspaper. “That would have been abhorrent to me. I thought I could trust Lamine Diack and it was my job to promote and protect the image of the IAAF and the World Championships. The first I heard about the allegations of extortion and cover-ups of Russian doping cases by IAAF representatives was in 2014. I was never mixed up or aware of the criminal activities which are now in the public domain.”

Davies was provisionally suspended by the IAAF Ethics Board in June this year, almost seven months after stepping aside pending an investigation into emails in which he appears to suggest delaying the announcement of Russian doping positives until after Moscow 2013. As its statement outlines, the IAAF Ethics Board is considering whether a $30,000 payment to Davies by Diack, as detailed in the emails, was ‘intended to have and/or in fact produced any manipulative effect’. The emails suggest that part of the $30,000 was to ‘assuage Jane Boulter’, Davies’ wife.

In the emails, originally published by Le Monde, Davies suggests launching an unofficial PR campaign to ‘ensure that we avoid international media scandals related to the Moscow Championships’. He suggests using CSM, a sports marketing company Chaired by IAAF President Sebastian Coe to do this, in order to ‘benefit from Seb’s political influence in the UK’. He also says that he needs to sit down with the IAAF’s Anti-Doping Department to understand exactly what ‘Russian “skeleton” we still have in the cupboard regarding doping’.

The emails suggest that the IAAF was holding back on announcing a number of Russian doping positives in 2013. ‘I think that the time to have unveiled the various athletes was a long time ago and now we need to be smart’, writes Davies. ‘These athletes, of course, should not be part of any Russian team for these World Championships and Valentin [Balakhnichev, who resigned as Russian athletics federation President in February 2015] should be pressured to make sure that this is the case’.

It also suggests that the IAAF chose when to announce doping positives based on minimising reputational damage. ‘If the guilty ones are not competing then we might as well wait until the event is over to announce them’, writes Davies. ‘Or we announce one or two but at the same time as athletes from other countries. Also we can prepare a special dossier on IAAF testing which will show that one of the reasons why these Russian athletes come up positive is that they get tested a lot!!! In the same way, we can make the point that the WADA laboratory is the responsibility of WADA not IAAF and that if WADA decides there really is a problem, we have a plan B to do the tests in Lausanne instead (Gabriel [Dollé, former Director of the IAAF’s Medical & Anti-Doping Department] confirmed this to me yesterday).’

The emails were sent when Davies was the IAAF’s Director of Communications at the IAAF and were dated 19 July, just two weeks after the Mail on Sunday published the results of its investigation into systemic Russian doping on 7 July 2013. The IAAF and Coe will not comment while the Ethics Board inquiry continues. Former IAAF President Lamine Diack was arrested by French police a year ago; his son, Papa Massata Diack, is currently wanted by Interpol; and Gabriel Dollé was sanctioned with a five-year ban by the IAAF Ethics Board in January, for failing to ensure that disciplinary procedures were taken against Liliya Shobukhova.

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