Papa Massata Diack, son of former world athletics boss Lamine Diack, was sentenced on Thursday to five years in prison for corruption in the 2011 Russian doping scandal, a case that shook the sports world.
In his absence, the Paris appeal court upheld the first instance sentence but halved the fine to 500,000 euros.
It also sentenced the former legal adviser to the head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Habib Cissé, to a three-year suspended prison sentence, a sentence that fell short of the prosecution’s demands.
Diack’s son, a former IAAF marketing consultant, was sentenced in September 2020 to five years in prison and fined €1 million for complicity in a bribery scheme to hide blood doping among Russian athletes in 2011, a year before the London Olympics.
By dragging out sanctions proceedings against these athletes with suspect biological passports, the International Federation had allowed some of them to participate in these Games.
In return, the major Russian sponsors had renewed their partnership contracts with the IAAF, which has since become World Athletics, for the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.
Diack’s son, nicknamed “PMD”, was also found guilty of embezzling up to 15 million euros from sponsorship contracts through a series of shell companies.
The 57-year-old has always maintained his innocence from Senegal, a country he says he cannot leave because he is under judicial supervision in the same case.
– Banana organisation” –
The lawyer of the international federation, Régis Bergonzi, had denounced during the appeal trial in January a “banana organization” of the IAAF during the time of Lamine Diack, between 1999 and 2015, a president surrounded by loyalists and who monetized loyalties.
At first instance, five other protagonists, including Lamine Diack, were convicted. Diack senior and the former head of the IAAF’s anti-doping department, Frenchman Gabriel Dollé, died in 2021 and the prosecutions were extinguished. Two Russian sports officials at the time, Valentin Balakhnitchev and Alexei Melnikov, did not appeal.
In January, only former presidential legal adviser Habib Cissé appeared before the appeal court. He was sentenced in the first instance to three years in prison, two of which were suspended, a fine of 100,000 euros and a five-year ban on practising as a lawyer, and he has always denied being an accomplice in the Russian affair.
The 52-year-old former personal adviser to Lamine Diack assured the court that the notifications concerning several athletes to the Russian federation (ARAF) had been treated on a “case-by-case” basis, according to the degree of suspicion of doping, stressing that all the suspected athletes had finally been suspended.
Habib Cissé was also found guilty of receiving 3.45 million euros from Russian athletes in exchange for “total protection”, i.e. their removal from the list of suspected dopers.
The investigators found a list in his home containing the names of several athletes and sums of money. They had also unearthed a text message conversation with “PMD” in which there was talk of “reimbursement”.
The affair, which shook the world of sport, was revealed by the agent of Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova, who had paid 450,000 euros to disappear from the list. Finally suspended in 2014, she asked for a refund and received 300,000 euros from an account in Singapore, which was traced to “PMD”.
Source: Culled from Seneweb