PARIS: Lamine Diack has told his corruption trial in Paris that he swerved action against Russia over doping because athletics’ governing body had been in dire financial straights.

Diack, who was then president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (now World Athletics), has denied the charges against him and sought, in evidence, to justify his actions.

The 87-year-old said he had overlook doping accusations against Russian athletes “to safeguard the financial health of the IAAF which was in very bad shape in the early 2010s.”

Diack also described his son, former IAAF marketing agent Papa Massata who is charged in his absence as having behaved “like a thug.”

Lamine Diack was also questioned about a $1.5m cash he had requested from the former president of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF), Valentin Balakhnitchev, to campaign in the Senegalese presidential elections in 2012.

He said: “It was [the Russians] who asked me if I wanted to be candidate “.