Sat, Nov 07, 2015 - Page 19 News List

WADA inquiry says athletes blackmailed over doping: report

AFP, PARIS

Former IAAF president Lamine Diack adjusts his headphones during a joint IOC and IAAF press conference at the World Athletic Championships in Beijing on Aug. 21.

Photo: AP

Russian athletics chiefs and the sons of the former world body president Lamine Diack blackmailed athletes suspected of doping to let them keep competing, according to a secret World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) inquiry quoted by the Mediapart news Web site on Thursday.

Mediapart said it had seen a report by a WADA independent commission which is due to be made public on Monday next week.

French police on Tuesday charged former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Diack with corruption over suspicions he took bribes for covering up doping cases.

Mediapart said six Russian athletes, including top marathon runner Lilya Shobukhova, were the targets of blackmail attempts by Russian athletics federation officials.

It quoted the WADA report as saying Shobukhova, who had her ban reduced after giving evidence to IAAF investigators, handed over US$569,000 between 2012 and last year to Russian coach Alexey Melnikov, who acted as an intermediary.

The report added that Diack’s two sons, Pape Massata Diack and Khalil Diack, were alleged to have asked for US$500,000 from Turkey’s 1500m women’s Olympic champion Asli Cakir Alptekin in November 2012, but she refused.

Alptekin was suspended for eight years in April 2013 for abnormal blood samples and was stripped of her London Olympics and European titles.

The WADA report says that the Diack family used Singapore-based company Black Tidings for money transfers.

The report said Lamine Diack was told several times about the activities of his sons, but did nothing.

The 82-year-old Diack was charged by French financial investigators on Tuesday of corruption, money laundering and conspiracy. A source close to the investigation said Diack was suspected of taking money from Russian athletes.

His legal advisor, Habib Cisse, and the IAAF’s former anti-doping doctor, Gabriel Dolle, have also been charged with corruption.

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