French investigation looking into 2016 and 2020 Olympic bids

Tuesday March 1st, 2016

French prosecutors looking into corruption in track and field have expanded their investigation to also include the bidding and voting processes for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games, according to Owen Gibson of The Guardian.

Former International Association of Athletics Federation president Lamine Diack was arrested by French investigators last year. An international warrant has also been issued for his son, the governing body’s former marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack.

“The IOC has been in close contact with the French prosecutors since the beginning of this investigation last year,” the International Olympic Committee said in a statement. “The IOC’s chief ethics and compliance officer had already asked for the IOC to be fully informed in a timely manner of all issues that may refer to Olympic matters and has already applied to become a party to the investigations led by the French judicial authorities.”

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Lamine Diack resigned as an honorary IOC member in November after he was suspended by the IOC executive board. He served as a full IOC member for 15 years until 2014. The World Anti-Doping Agency released a second report into IAAF corruption in January that hinted at possible wrongdoing by Diack and the 2020 Olympic bidding campaign. Diack reportedly accepted sponsorship money for the IAAF in exchange for his vote for Japan.

Tokyo defeated Istanbul 60–36 in the final round of IOC voting for the 2020 Olympics. The Tokyo 2020 organizers told The Guardian that the allegations were “beyond our understanding.”

Papa Massata Diack was banned for life by the IAAF ethics commission in January for corruption and cover-up allegations of Russian doping. The decision has been appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Massata Diack also reportedly traded “parcels” to influential members of the International Olympic Committee as Qatar bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Doha lost the bidding for the 2016 Olympics but in 2015 was awarded the 2019 IAAF World Championships.

- Christopher Chavez

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