Nicola Sharp, of business crime solicitors Rahman Ravelli, believes that increased efforts to tackle corruption in sport mean the case is not going to be an isolated one.
One of world athletics most influential figures, Lamine Diack, is to stand trial for corruption, money laundering and other crimes.
Diack, who was head of the International Association of Athletics Federations for 15 years, was arrested in France in 2015. It has now been reported that the 86-year-old will be tried on charges of corruption, influence-trafficking and money laundering. No trial date has yet been fixed.
One of Diack's sons, Papa Massata Diack, could also be set to stand trial on corruption and money laundering charges. Papa Diack has emerged as a central figure in French investigations into corruption allegations relating to the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games as well as other sporting events. He is believed to be living in Senegal and could be tried by the French authorities in his absence. Interpol has issued a wanted notice for him. When Lamine Diack stepped down as IAAF President in 2015, to be replaced by Sebastian Coe, he was arrested amid revelations of athletes being blackmailed and of failed drug tests being covered up. Reports surfaced of athletes being told their doping could be hidden – meaning they could continue to compete – if they paid a fee. The head of France's financial prosecution service has previously stated that Lamine Diack gained approximately a million euros by operating this scheme.
What needs to be noted is that the trial of Lamine Diack is not a rare or one-off occurrence in the world of athletics. Unfortunately, this is simply another example of alleged widespread corruption in the world of sport. What is happening with Lamine Diack has to be seen as symbolic of a notable rise in recent years of prosecuting authorities taking action when it comes to corruption in sport.
Lamine Diack's case is not the first to bring shame to the administration of athletics worldwide. There is little, if any, chance of it turning out to be the last.
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