12/03 04:19 CST Lamine Diack, ex IAAF chief convicted of corruption, dies
Lamine Diack, ex IAAF chief convicted of corruption, dies
By BABACAR DIONE and GRAHAM DUNBAR
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) --- Lamine Diack, the controversial long-time leader of
track and field who was convicted of extorting money from athletes and accused
of taking bribes in an Olympic hosting vote, has died, his family said Friday.
He was 88.
Awa Diack, niece of the former International Olympic Committee member, told The
Associated Press that "my uncle Lamine Diack passed away Thursday to Friday
Diack led track and field's governing body --- then known as the IAAF, now
World Athletics --- for 16 years. But his name has become a byword for
corruption in Olympic circles since 2015, as allegations of wrongdoing emerged
soon after Diack's leadership of his sport ended.
Diack died in his home country, Senegal, where he was allowed to return this
year from France where he had been detained under house arrest for several
years and then convicted of various corruption charges linked to abuses of his
prominent positions in world sports.
A former politician in Senegal, Diack became head of the IAAF in 1999 and saw
the sport flourish during his time in charge, in part because of the popularity
of sprinter Usain Bolt.
Behind the scenes, Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack were involved in
wrongdoing that would taint the integrity of their sport and the IOC's bidding
contests and votes to choose Olympic host cities.
They were linked to extorting cash from runners, to cover up their doping cases
before the 2012 London Olympics, and taking bribes from Brazilian officials to
help ensure Rio de Janeiro was picked as the 2016 Olympics host. Among its
opponents was a Chicago bid supported at the vote in Denmark by then-President
An ongoing French investigation has linked Papa Massata Diack to financial
wrongdoing connected to Tokyo's winning bid to host the 2020 Olympics.
The IOC has now scrapped the traditional bid campaigns and contests that proved
vulnerable to abuse, and IOC members no longer vote from a range of candidates.
Instead, a controlled in-house process picks a single preferred host for IOC
members to rubber-stamp.
Diack was sentenced to four years in prison, two of them suspended, in
September 2020 for covering up the payment of bribes by Russian athletes
involved in doping cases and the financing by Russia of political campaigns in
In May, Diack returned home to Senegal from France, where he had been under
house arrest, after a local soccer club paid a bond of about $600,000 to let
Diack was convicted on multiple charges of corruption during his tenure, some
of it related to the Russian doping scandal. His son was sentenced in his
absence to five years in prison.
The former IAAF president's conviction marked a spectacular fall from grace for
such an influential figure in the world of Olympic sports.
At the sentencing last week in Brazil of its one-time most senior Olympic
official Carlos Nuzman, the court was told bribes were paid so that the Diack
family could help secure several IOC votes for Rio in 2009.
At his own trial, Diack was also found guilty of being part of a scheme that
squeezed 3.2 million euros ($3.8 million) in bribes out of Russian athletes
suspected of doping.
The hush money allowed the athletes, who should have been suspended, to keep
competing. Diack was also found guilty on breach of trust charges but acquitted
of money laundering.
His son, Papa Massata, worked as a long-time IAAF marketing consultant. The
French judge said $15 million was funneled to the younger Diack's companies
from various contracts negotiated by the IAAF while his father was in charge.
Dunbar reported from Geneva
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