Disgraced former World Athletics chief Lamine Diack returns to Senegal after local football club pays for his release from France

A ban on Diack leaving France was lifted after the bond of €500,000 was paid to the authorities. The money was raised by a football club in Senegal that Diack once led

The Associated Press May 11, 2021 17:49:54 IST
Disgraced former World Athletics chief Lamine Diack returns to Senegal after local football club pays for his release from France

File image of former World Athletics chief Lamine Diack. AP

Dakar, Senegal: Disgraced former World Athletics head Lamine Diack returned home to Senegal late Monday after a local football club paid a bond of just over $600,000 to allow him to leave France.

Diack, the president of World Athletics from 1999-2015, was convicted in Paris in September on multiple charges of corruption during his tenure, some of it related to the Russian doping scandal. He was sentenced to four years in prison, with two of those years suspended.

But French justice authorities said Diack, who is 87, was unlikely to spend any time in jail because of his age. He had been held under house arrest in France since 2015.

A ban on Diack leaving France was lifted after the bond of €500,000 was paid to the authorities. The money was raised by a football club in Senegal that Diack once led, according to an official with the club and also Diack's lawyer.

Diack arrived in Dakar late Monday and appeared frail as he walked through the airport. He wore a smart blue suit but used a walking stick and was helped by a family member. He did not make any comments.

Youssou Dial, vice president in charge of finance at Jaraaf de Dakar, told The Associated Press that the club raised the money to secure Diack's passage from France by selling off some of its properties.

“This is the least we can do for Lamine Diack, who is a founding member of our club,” Dial said. “Mr. Diack has given this club a lot.”

Diack was president of Jaraaf in the 1970s and in the late 1990s and 2000s.

His conviction in France last year marked a spectacular fall from grace for a man who led World Athletics, then known as the IAAF, for nearly two decades and was an influential figure in the world of Olympic sports.

Diack was found guilty of being part of a scheme that €3.2 million ($3.8 million) in bribes out of Russian athletes suspected of doping. The hush money allowed the athletes, who should have been suspended, to keep competing. Diack was also found guilty on breach of trust charges but acquitted of money laundering.

His son, Papa Massata Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant, was also convicted and was sentenced to five years in jail in his absence. The judge said $15 million was funneled to the younger Diack’s companies from various contracts negotiated by the IAAF while his father was in charge.

Papa Massata lives in Senegal, which refused to extradite him to France for the trial. Both Diacks have appealed their convictions.

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