Diack, an 87-year-old Senegalese, led the International Association of Athletics Federations, renamed World Athletics, from 1999 to 2015.

Former global athletics chief Lamine Diack arrives at the courthouse in Paris, France, to hear the verdict in his corruption trial along with four other defendants over Russian doping charges. September 16, 2020.
Former global athletics chief Lamine Diack arrives at the courthouse in Paris, France, to hear the verdict in his corruption trial along with four other defendants over Russian doping charges. September 16, 2020. (AFP)

The former head of world athletics' governing body, Lamine Diack, has been convicted in France of corruption in a Russian doping scandal and sentenced to spend at least two years in jail.

The guilty verdict in a Paris court represented a spectacular fall from grace for the 87-year-old Diack, who was the powerful head of the IAAF from 1999-2015. The court also sentenced Diack to another two years of suspended jail time and fined him $590,000 (500,000 euros).

Diack was found guilty of multiple corruption charges and of breach of trust but acquitted of a money laundering charge.

Diack was found guilty of accepting bribes from athletes suspected of doping to cover up test results and let them continue competing, including in the 2012 London Olympics.

The court also found Diack guilty of accepting Russian money to help finance Macky Sall's campaign for the 2012 Senegal presidential election, in exchange for slowing anti-doping procedures.

Prosecutors said Diack had solicited bribes totalling $4.10 million (3.45 million euros) from athletes suspected of drugs cheating. The presiding judge said the former long-jumper's actions had "undermined the values of athletics and the fight against doping."

Trial in absence

Diack's son, Papa Massata Diack, was also on trial. The former IAAF marketing consultant lives in Senegal and was tried in his absence, also on corruption, money laundering and breach of trust charges.

Ahead of the verdict, Papa Massata Diack this week called the charges “the biggest lie in the history of world sport.” 

He said he earned $10 million from his IAAF consultancy work but all legally. He said he skipped the trial because "to submit to French justice is to put myself at the disposal of my enemies.” 

Senegal refused to extradite him.

The IAAF is now known as World Athletics.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies