Lamine Diack

30 September 2020

The former head of world athletics Lamine Diack was back before a judge in Paris a week after his conviction for corruption in covering up Russian doping cases. In the doping cases, he was sentenced to four years in prison, two of which were suspended. He played a major role in hushing up 23 Russian doping offences so the athletes involved could compete at the 2012 London Olympics and 2013 world championships in Moscow. Along with him, his son and former head of anti-doping in the International Association of Athletics Federations, Gabriel Dolle, were also given prison terms.

This time, he is accused of corruption linked to the respective awarding of the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games to Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. Payments worth $2 million were made to Singapore-based firm Black Tidings, linked to (his son) Papa Massata Diack. These are the subject of investigations by French authorities in relation to alleged vote buying in connection with the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic bid race.

Kyodo News reported this week that the Tokyo 2020 consultancy firm transferred $370,000 to Papa Massata around the time Tokyo was given the right to stage the 2020 Games. But Papa Massata Diack told Kyodo News that the money received was related to a “sponsorship deal made in China” and it had “nothing to do with the Tokyo Olympics.”

Former Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) President Tsunekazu Takeda, chair of the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee, is also being investigated over allegedly authorising the payments to Black Tidings. A Japanese investigation in 2016 concluded that the 230m yen payment to Black Tidings was not illegal and did not constitute bribery.

According to leaked secret financial documents, more than $55m was transferred in and out of suspicious bank accounts linked to Lamine Diack and his son, Papa Massata. NBC said it had seen secret bank records of the leaked FinCEN files which listed 112 transactions totalling more than $55m. It said that one of the documents traced the flow of $2.3m from a bank account belonging to the Tokyo Organising Committee to an account (Black Tidings) in Singapore. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were then sent from Singapore to accounts controlled by the Diacks in Senegal, to luxury car dealerships in Dubai, a jewellery dealer in the United Arab Emirates and a travel company based in Senegal.

The leaked reports of suspicious financial activity kept by the US Treasury Department and French authorities were discovered in a joint investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and news outlets including NBC News, BuzzFeed News, The Asahi Shimbun, Kyodo News and Radio France.

theguardian, Sportbusiness and insidethegames reported.

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