LAUSANNE: Sport’s supreme court has confirmed the life suspensions from athletics of Senegalese Papa Massata Diack, son of the former IAAF president, and two former Russian officials, Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov.
The trio were suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations on January 7, 2016 as part of the doping and corruption scandal that is shaking athletics.
An IAAF Ethics Commission inquiry found them culpable of received money in return for their silence on doping, mainly in Russia.
Now the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled that the charges against Papa Massata Diack, Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov were “established beyond a reasonable doubt and that the sanctions were to be confirmed”.
The IAAF welcomed the decision with president Lord Sebastian Coe saying: “The decision sends a clear message. Anyone who tries to corrupt our sport will be brought to justice.”
Papa Massata Diack, wanted over allegations of fraud, money laundering and corruption is one of 15 children of Lamine Diack, former president of the IAAF.
A former marketing consultant at the IAAF, he was placed by Interpol on his list of most wanted people after a warrant issued by France.
Lamine Diack is under investigation by the French courts in connection with this investigation.
In December 2015, the French judiciary had extended its investigations on Lamine Diack to the award of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and 2020 in Tokyo.
In March 2017, Le Monde revealed that a company led by Papa Massata Diack had benefited, three days before the International Olympic Committee voted in Copenhagen in 2009 to award the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro, from a $1.5m payment from a company linked to the Brazilian businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho.
Lamine Diack was then president of the IAAF and a voting IOC member.
Valentin Balakhnichev is the ex-treasurer of the IAAF and former president of the Russian Federation, and Alexei Melnikov the former coach of the national march team.