Expatica news

Son of former athletics chief absent as corruption appeal opens

Papa Massata Diack’s appeal against his conviction over a scheme to hide Russian doping began in Paris on Friday with the son of the former head of global athletics absent.

Diack, whose father Lamine Diack headed the IAAF, now World Athletics, from 1999 to 2015, was one of six men convicted in 2020 for hushing up 23 Russian doping offences in exchange for Russian sponsorship contracts.

As a result, the athletes were able to compete at the 2012 London Olympics and 2013 world championships in Moscow.

Diack, who worked as a marketing consultant to the IAAF, has been in his native Senegal since before the initial case was heard. The country refuses to extradite the 57-yer-old.

Diack was sentenced to five years in prison and fined one million euros.

He has also been convicted of embezzling about 15 million euros through “exorbitant” commissions on sponsorship contracts and television rights.

During the first trial, he said he refused to recognise the authority of a French court.

On Friday, one of his lawyers, Hugues Vigier, said Diack “wants to explain himself” in court but is under judicial supervision in Senegal and cannot leave the country.

Vigier asked if Diack could appear by videoconference.

The court rejected the request.

Of the six found guilty in the first trial, only lawyer Habib Cisse, who advised Lamine Diack on business law, was present on Friday.

Lamine Diack and former IAAF anti-doping boss Frenchman Gabriel Dolle are both dead.

The former president of the Russian Athletics Federation Valentin Balakhnichev and the ex Russian coach Alexei Melnikov, are also absent, as they were from the first trial.

The proceedings are scheduled to end next Thursday.