Athletics doping crisis: Papa Diack 'rejects' bribery claims
By Dan Roan and Patrick Nathanson*
World athletics’ ex-marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack “totally rejects” accusations he had any role in alleged extortion and bribery.
Diack, son of ex-IAAF president Lamine Diack, is accused by French prosecutors of being part of an alleged “system of corruption” involving the blackmail of athletes who had failed drug tests.
He faces a possible life ban following an IAAF disciplinary hearing last week.
The organisation charged Diack Jr and three other men with ethics violations.
“There was no extortion of funds from any athlete,” he told the BBC.
“I’ve never met any athlete, any agent, any person in the world…asking to have a payment.
“I deal with corporate sponsors, I deal with governments, I deal with municipal government, I deal with Olympic committees, I never dealt with any athlete or any agent, so I reject those allegations.”
Along with Papa Diack, ex-IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dolle, former All-Russia Athletic Federation chief Valentin Balakhnichev and coach Alexei Melnikov are also charged with breaches of the governing body’s code of ethics. A verdict is due in January.
The charges relate to the payment of about £435,000 that Russianformer London Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova allegedly made to have her doping violations covered up.
Her 38-month ban from track and field was reduced by seven months after she turned whistleblower for the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).
Russia have been banned from international athletics competitionafter a report by Wada’s independent commission alleged they were guilty of “state-sponsored doping”.
Papa Diack also protested his father’s innocence. Lamine Diack, who he says is in “very good spirits”, is under investigation by French police on preliminary charges of corruption and money laundering.
“He’s never been involved in any corrupt system to extort money from athletes, I totally reject that.
“Suddenly they are just going to destroy all he’s built over the last 16 years and all the 39 years he’s spent in the IAAF, so I find it very sad and I could not recognise certain acts or certain declarations made by certain people, but it’s a fact of life.
“I think the best adage in this case, as we say in Senegal, is: ‘God, we leave it to God to give the truth of all this.'”
Diack Jr, employed by his father as a consultant for the IAAF, is not under arrest and said he is “not about to disappear” from Senegal, where he lives.
“We all have the human right to be cautious and defend ourselves.
“If they want to do an investigation, they are free to send an investigation in Senegal, they have the proper channel to send the investigators. Anything that they have as an allegation I am ready to answer to it.”
The French police investigation centres around allegations that money was paid to cover up positive drug tests, especially among Russian athletes.
“Before [Lamine Diack] left office there is no Russian athlete accused of any doping allegation that hasn’t been sanctioned,” says Papa Diack.
“If justice follows its due process they will understand that Lamine did not hide anything.”
Papa Diack also claims allegations he had, via email, requested a payment of around $5m (£3.36m) from Qatar in 2011, shortly before a decision was made about their ultimately unsuccessful bid for the World Championships in 2017, are “totally untrue”.
“I have a very longstanding relationship with Qatar that dates to 1995, so I don’t need to send an email when I need something from Qatar.
“I have all the right people’s contacts and I can go straight to them. So I reject it totally.”
On Monday, BBC Sport published an email from IAAF deputy general secretary Nick Davies to Papa Diack which revealed plans to delay naming Russian drug cheats in the run-up to the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.
Davies denied any wrongdoing – saying he was simply “brainstorming media handling strategies to deal with the serious challenges we were facing”.