The IAAF joins FIFA as another of the most powerful governing bodies in sports whose top officials are currently under criminal investigation.
French authorities have opened a criminal investigation into former IAAF president Lamine Diack for allegedly accepting money from Russia to conceal positive PED tests, the Associated Press reports.
After being taken into custody, Diack was released on bail of approximately $550,000 on Wednesday. He was ordered to turn in his passport and not leave France. Diack, 82, is from Senegal.
Diack, who ended his tenure as IAAF president in August after 16 years, allegedly accepted $1.2 million from the Russian athletics federation to cover up the positive doping tests of at least six Russian athletes in 2011. He is being investigated on charges of corruption and money laundering.
The evidence of Diack’s alleged wrongdoing was first brought forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency in August.
The IAAF, which regulates track and field, joins FIFA, which governs world soccer, as another of the most powerful governing bodies in sports whose top officials are currently under criminal investigation. Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter is currently subject of a criminal investigation by Swiss authorities as well as an internal investigation by FIFA. Multiple other FIFA officials are also under investigation.
Diack’s legal adviser, Habib Cisse, also faces a corruption charge, and Gabriel Dolle, the former director of the IAAF’s anti-doping department, has been taken into custody.
The IAAF said in a statement that it is “fully cooperating with all investigations as it has been from the beginning of the process.”
Last year, three-time Chicago Marathon winner and Olympic runner Liliya Shobukhova reportedly paid the Russian athletics federation $550,000 to cover up a positive doping case. Dolle left the IAAF after being questioned by the governing body's ethics committee. Shobukhova was banned by the IAAF for three years and two months with all results dating back to 2009 being anulled. After cooperating with investigators, Shobukhova's suspension was shortened and is now cleared to compete ahead of next summer's 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
WADA is also conducting its own investigation into the IAAF, addressing claims that Russian and IAAF corruption has allowed athletes to use performance enhancing drugs without penalty.
Olympic gold medalist Seb Coe succeeded Diack as president of the IAAF after the 2015 World Championships in Aug. Coe was president during the police raid and offered himself to answer any inquiries from authorities but was not questioned. He has not commented on Wednesday morning's events.
The IAAF released the following statement:
“The IAAF confirms that, emanating from separate ongoing investigations by WADA's independent commission and the IAAF's own independent ethics commission into allegations surrounding its anti-doping rules and regulations, a French police investigation has now commenced. The IAAF is fully cooperating with all investigations as it has been from the beginning of the process. As part of the French investigation, police visited the IAAF HQ offices (on Tuesday) to carry out interviews and to access documentation.”
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said he was generally unaware of actions taken within the IAAF.
“God knows what's going on there,” Mutko told Russian news agency Tass. “We’ve already said that our federation had problems. The old management isn’t working there anymore. Understand that there are a lot of criminal cases going on in the world right now and those are unclear cases.”
The International Olympics Committee has referred Diack’s case to its ethics commission. Diack is currently an honorary IOC member after 15 years on the committee, reports Steve Wilson of the Associated Press.
- Erin Flynn and Christopher Chavez