PARIS: French prosecutors have demanded a four-year prison term plus €500,000 fine for Lamine Diack, the scandal-shrouded 87-year-old former president of world athletics’ governing body.
François-Xavier Dulin described the Senegalese, once one of the most powerful men in world sport and the Olympic movement as guilty of “breach of trust which caused worldwide damage” and as having been “swimming in money.”
Diack had denied charges of bribery, conspiracy for money laundering and breach of trust during his term as head of the International Association of Athletics Federation, now rebranded as World Athletics.
The core of the accusations was that Diack accepted bribes to overlook doping charges against Russian track and field athletes.
Dulin, in his summing-up, said that Diack could not have been unaware of the fraudulent practices of his son, Papa Massata Diack, former marketing advisor at the IAAF. The prosecutor spoke of a “ filial but delinquent relationship” between the two men. Father and son had plundered the sport for “considerable sums.”
Lamine Diack was not the only accused.
Also on trial were Gabriel Dolle, 78, former head of IAAF anti-doping, for whom the prosecution sought a sentence of two years in prison, including one suspended, plus a fine of €160,000 for bribery.
Lawyer Habib Cissé, one of the only three defendants present at the trial (with Lamine Diack and Dollé), faces three years in prison, including an 18-month suspended sentence.
Papa Massata Diack has evaded justice by remaining in Senegal for teh past five years since investigations began. He faces a claim for a five-year jail; term and €500,000 fine in his absence.
Prison terms were also requested against two absentee Russians. Valentin Balakhnichev, the former president of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) and treasurer of the IAAF, faces a claim for four years in jail plus the confiscation of €1.83m in his Monaco bank account.
Former Russian coach Alexei Melnikov faces a claim of two years in prison with one suspended.
In a late petition to the court, World Athletics applied for an order against the six defendants of €41.2 =m in damages.