March 24, 2015

The IAAF's ethics commission won't say whether it is investigating allegations that a member of the world athletics body's top decision-making council and a candidate for vice president tried to bribe voters with Rolex watches.

Tristan Jones, secretary of the ethics commission, told The Associated Press in an email on Tuesday that he was bound by confidentiality rules and could not say if a complaint was made against United Arab Emirates federation president Ahmad Al Kamali.

''I am unable to confirm or deny whether any complaint has been made,'' Jones wrote.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported Tuesday that Al Kamali was under investigation over allegations that he offered Rolex watches to 40 officials at the recent African Athletics Association congress in Ethiopia.

When reached by phone by the AP, Al Kamali said: ''I don't want to talk anything about this, thank you,'' before hanging up.

Al Kamali is a candidate for IAAF vice president in elections in Beijing in August, when the IAAF will also elect a new president. Sebastian Coe and Sergei Bubka are the two candidates to succeed Lamine Diack as president.

Also set to run for IAAF vice president is Dahlan Al Hamad of Qatar.

The African officials who were offered the luxury watches are all eligible to vote in those elections at the IAAF congress ahead of the world championships, El Pais said.

IAAF rules forbid candidates offering gifts or donations to voters.

The 56-year-old Al Kamali is one of 27 elected members of the IAAF's ruling council. He is the founder and chairman of the Dubai Marathon and also a lawyer and former military judge, according to his biography page on the IAAF website.

Al Kamali was elected to the IAAF council in 2011 as a relative unknown in world athletics, gaining the most votes out of the nine new members that year.

Quoting an unidentified president of an African federation, El Pais said Al Kamali offered the watches to delegates at the African congress in Addis Ababa this month, where he left the Rolexes in hotel rooms. He also offered money and equipment to at least one official to help athletics development in his home country, El Pais said.

The IAAF also would not confirm or deny an investigation was underway, directing queries to its independent ethics commission.

Jones wrote that there are ''strict confidentiality obligations on the commission, including a requirement that the commission must not disclose the existence of any matter pending before it.''

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