World Athletics’ Ex-Chief Lamine Diack Goes on Trial in Paris

Former World Athletics’ Chief Lamine Diack was in a Paris courtroom Monday as a corruption trial opened against him. The case involves a Russian doping scandal. Eighty-seven-year-old Lamine Diack seemed relaxed as he made his court appearance Monday, sporting a dark grey suit. Arguments in the case were originally due to start in January, but postponed when new documents containing testimony from his son and co-defendant were submitted to the court. Lamine Diack is the former head of World Athletics – which was once known as the IAAF. As head of the IAAF from 1999 to 2015, Diack was once one of the most powerful figures in world athletics. Today, he lives under house arrest in Paris, charged with corruption and money laundering.  Prosecutors allege Diack solicited millions of dollars to cover up Russian doping tests.  Some of the money allegedly went to finance Macky Sall’s 2012 presidential campaign in Senegal. Sall won the election.  If found guilty, Diack faces up to 10 years in prison.  Diack denies wrongdoing. The trial is being held in Paris as the alleged money-laundering happened on French soil.  One of Diack’s lawyers, Simon Ndiaye, told reporters that people were unfairly lashing out against his client without any precise elements to back up their accusations. Ndiaye said Diack’s accusers have forgotten others surrounding the ex-chief. His client’s only concern, Ndiaye said, was to defend the IAAF and preserve its financial resources.  One of Diack’s sons, Papa Massata Diack, also faces corruption among other charges. He remains in Senegal, which has refused to extradite him, and will be tried in absentia. Four others are also on trial.  Briton Sebastian Coe replaced Diack as the association’s head. He is trying to rebuild trust in athletics and has introduced changes in how sport is governed. 


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