France: Corruption trial of former athletics governing body chief begins in Paris

The trial of Lamine Diack, the former president of the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), the governing body of the sport of athletics, over corruption charges linked to the Russian doping scandal, began in Paris on Monday, after it had been postponed due to new evidence containing testimony from his son and co-defendant, former marketing consultant for the IAAF, Papa Massata Diack. Defence lawyer Simon Ndiaye said the former IAAF president's only concern was «to defend the interests of the IAAF and to preserve its financial resources,» saying «everything that was done ,was done on the basis of contracts, contracts that have been validated by those who were there.» «We must not believe that, because there are [money] transfers, because we are talking about large sums, there is bound to be corruption,» Ndiaye added. The 87-year-old Senegalese who was in charge of the IAAF (now World Athletics), between 1999 and 2015, is charged with «giving and receiving bribes», «breach of trust» and «organised money laundering.» Prosecutors alleged he solicited over €3 million ($5,589,985) from athletes suspected of doping, covering up the allegations and allowing them to continue competing, including in the 2012 London Olympics. Diack, who lives under house arrest in the French capital, denies any wrongdoing. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in jail.
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