Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Former IAAF president Lamine Diack arrives for the verdict in his trial at a Paris courthouse on Sept. 16, 2020.

CHARLES PLATIAU/Reuters

Lamine Diack, once one of the most powerful people in athletics, was convicted in France on Wednesday of running a clique that covered up Russian doping in return for bribes worth millions of dollars and sentenced to spend at least two years in jail.

The 87-year-old former head of world athletics' governing body was found guilty of taking kickbacks from athletes in return for concealing positive drug tests, which enabled them to continue competing, including at the 2012 London Olympics.

The court had heard how Diack solicited bribes totalling €3.45-million euros ($5.37-million) and paid off other officials at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to aid with the cover up.

Story continues below advertisement

He was also guilty of accepting Russian money to help finance Macky Sall’s 2012 presidential campaign in Senegal, Diack’s home country, the court ruled.

The former long-jumper’s actions had “undermined the values of athletics and the fight against doping,” the presiding judge said.

The court handed Diack a four-year prison sentence, two years of which are suspended and a fine of €500,000. It also ordered him to pay €5-million in damages to World Athletics (formerly IAAF) together with his son and co-accused, Papa Massata Diack.

Lamine Diack’s lawyers said he was a scapegoat “sacrificed in the name of political correctness,” adding they would appeal the judgment which was unfair and inhumane.

He will remain under house arrest pending the appeal, which could last months.


Diack led the IAAF from 1999 to 2015. In his testimony, he acknowledged slowing the handling of Russian doping cases between 2011-2013 to save a sponsorship deal with a Russian bank and avoid public scandal. But he denied the corruption allegations.

Story continues below advertisement

At the heart of the corruption scam alongside Diack was his son, Papa Massata.

Papa Massata, who fled France to Senegal after the French investigation began and was tried in absentia, was sentenced to five years in jail and hit with a €1-million fine.

Papa Massata’s lawyers in Senegal said he was denied a fair trial and would appeal.

At the outset of the trial, his Senegal-based lawyers asked that it be postponed on the grounds that COVID-19 restrictions meant they could not travel, yet the request was refused by the French judges.

French investigators say Papa Massata is at the centre of years-long corruption probe that now spans Europe, Asia and the Americas, and includes the awarding of the 2020 Olympic Games to Tokyo and the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro.

In 2017, Papa Massata branded the accusation that he was part of a large corruption racket as “the biggest lie in the history of world sport.”

Story continues below advertisement

Four other defendants were charged in the case: Habib Cisse, Diack’s former lawyer at the IAAF; Gabriel Dollé, who oversaw doping tests at the IAAF; former head of Russian athletics Valentin Balakhnichev and former Russian athletics' head coach Alexei Melnikov.

All four were found guilty of corruption offences.

Balakhnichev, who also did not attend the hearing, told Reuters he too would appeal.

“I don’t live in France,” he said. “We have our own laws in Russia that protect Russian citizens.”

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies