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Former IAAF president sentenced to 2 years in prison

A French court found 87-year-old Lamine Diack guilty on multiple counts, but he does have the right to appeal

BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 19: Newly elected IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe stands with outgoing president Lamine Diack during the 50th IAAF Congress at the China National Convention Centre, CNCC on August 19, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF) Photo by: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF

Former IAAF (now World Athletics) president Lamine Diack has been found guilty of corruption and breach of trust by a French court. Diack was at the centre of multiple doping coverups involving Russian athletes, and he reportedly received millions of dollars to help guilty athletes avoid convictions. At the 87-year-old Diack’s trial in June, prosecutors requested that he be sentenced to four years in prison along with a fine, but he got off with a lighter sentence of just two years, plus a fine of 500,000 euros (C$782,000). Diack was president of the IAAF from 1999 to 2015. 

As reported by the Associated Press, the trial’s chief judge, Rose-Marie Hunault, outlined Diack’s involvement in the Russian doping scandal, for which he was paid close to C$5 million. “The money was paid in exchange for a program of ‘full protection,’” Hunault said, which allowed guilty athletes “purely and simply to escape sanctions.”

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Diack was first charged in 2015, and he has been under house arrest in France ever since. He was originally charged for corruption and money laundering, although the French court found him not guilty on the latter charge. While Diack has been handed a sentence, he still has the right to an appeal. 

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Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, was also sentenced to prison and fined on Wednesday, although he was not present in court. He worked as a marketing consultant for the IAAF while his father was head of the organization, and Hunault said he received almost C$20 million from TV deals and other contracts, which was then laundered through other companies. 

RELATED: Russian Athletics Federation fined $10 million for breaking anti-doping rules

The younger Diack has stayed in Senegal throughout the trial, and while French authorities have requested he be extradited so he can be properly sentenced, Senegalese officials have refused to do so. While he was not present on Wednesday, the court still sentenced him to five years in prison and handed him a fine of 1 million euros (C$1.5 million).