Former IAAF president Lamine Diack reportedly ‘charged with corruption’

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has confirmed that a French police investigation has commenced, following separate investigations into allegations surrounding the world governing body’s anti-doping rules and regulations.

Global news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on Wednesday that former IAAF president Lamine Diack had been ‘charged with corruption’ relating to the IAAF’s anti-doping campaign.

An IAAF statement was later released, confirming that an investigation had begun and that police had visited the IAAF HQ offices on Tuesday to carry out interviews and access documentation.

According to the BBC, Diack is accused of receiving money in return for deferring sanctions against Russian athletes who had failed doping tests in 2011. The BBC reported that the the French financial prosecutor’s office said Diack’s advisor Habib Cisse had also been put under investigation.

“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,” read the IAAF statement.

“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 yesterday to carry out interviews and to access documentation.

“The IAAF will make no further comment at this time.”

A three-person independent commission, chaired by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s founding president Dick Pound, was formed after the broadcast of an ARD documentary – ‘Top-secret doping: How Russia makes its winners’ – which was aired in December 2014. In August 2015 the investigation was extended following widespread doping allegations against international athletics. The IAAF has previously denied allegations of widespread doping in the sport.

Earlier this year, WADA announced that the commission would be due to deliver its report to WADA’s president by the end of 2015 unless he deems it appropriate to extend the mandate.

A WADA statement, released on Wednesday, read: “WADA is aware of the ongoing criminal investigations relating to sport officials and allegations of corruption and money-laundering, as announced by the French authorities earlier today.

“These investigations are a result of information passed on by WADA’s Independent Commission (IC) to the relevant authorities.

“WADA will make no further comment at this time.”

Senegalese 82-year-old Diack held the position of IAAF president for 16 years, from 1999 until August of this year, when he was succeeded by Seb Coe following an election vote at the 50th IAAF Congress in Beijing ahead of the World Championships.

British middle-distance great Coe beat his fellow IAAF vice president Sergey Bubka to the top role.

Coe had recently called for the creation of an integrity unit to help enforce more independent anti-doping procedures within the sport. The establishment of a fully independent anti-doping agency was among the eight specific pledges revealed by Coe in June as he made his bid for presidency.

On Tuesday, the IAAF had published news of Coe having completed his first official visit to Russia as IAAF president, with Coe expressing his “uncompromising position” on the issue of doping in athletics.