Lamine Diack, the longtime leader of world athletics who was convicted of extorting money from athletes and accused of accepting bribes in an Olympic organizing vote, is died at the age of 88, his family announced.
Awa Diack, niece of the former member of the International Olympic Committee, issued the following statement: “My uncle Lamine Diack passed away Thursday through Friday evening.
Diack led the governing body of athletics – then known as the IAAF, now World Athletics – for 16 years, but his name has become synonymous with corruption in Olympic circles since 2015, amid allegations of Wrongdoing emerged shortly after his leadership of his sport ended. .
He died in his country of origin, Senegal, where he was allowed to return this year from France where he had been under house arrest for several years and then sentenced on various corruption charges linked to abuses of his eminent positions in world sport.
A former politician in Senegal, Diack became head of the IAAF in 1999 and saw the sport flourish during his tenure, in part because of the popularity of sprinter Usain Bolt.
Behind the scenes, Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack have been implicated in wrongdoing that marred the integrity of their sport and the IOC’s contests and votes to choose Olympic host cities.
They were linked to extortion of money from runners, to cover up doping cases ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, and bribes from Brazilian officials to help ensure Rio de Janeiro is chosen as the host. of the 2016 Olympics.
An ongoing French investigation has linked Papa Massata Diack to financial wrongdoing related to Tokyo’s winning bid to host the 2020 Olympics.
The IOC has abandoned traditional candidacy campaigns and contests that have proven vulnerable to abuse, and members no longer vote among a range of candidates. Instead, a controlled internal process selects a single preferred host for IOC members to approve.
Diack was sentenced to four years in prison, two of which were suspended, in September 2020 for covering up the payment of bribes by Russian athletes involved in doping cases and Moscow’s funding of political campaigns in Senegal.
In May, Diack returned home to Senegal from France, where he had been under house arrest, after a local football club posted bail of around € 398,000 to let him go.
Diack was convicted of several corruption charges during his tenure, some of which were linked to the doping scandal in Russia. Her son was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison.
The conviction of the former IAAF president marked a spectacular disgrace for such an influential figure in the world of Olympic sports.
During the conviction last week in Brazil of its former top Olympic official, Carlos Nuzman, the court heard that bribes had been paid so that the Diack family could help secure several IOC votes for Rio in 2009.
In his own trial, Diack was also found guilty of participating in a scheme to extract 3.2 million euros in bribes from Russian athletes suspected of doping.
The silence money allowed the athletes, who should have been suspended, to continue to compete. Diack was also convicted of breach of trust but acquitted of money laundering.