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Diack’s son, 2 Russians banned for life

Diack’s son, 2 Russians banned for life

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Diack's son, 2 Russians banned for life

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The son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack and two Russian officials were banned from track and field for life yesterday after an investigation into blackmail, extortion and doping cover-ups.

A fourth official, former IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dolle, received a five-year ban from the ethics commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Banned for life were Papa Massata Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant; former Russian athletics federation head Valentin Balakhnichev, who was also honorary treasurer of the IAAF; and Alexei Melnikov, former Russian head coach.

The sanctions centered on the case of Russian marathoner Liliya Shobukhova, who was allegedly extorted out of hundreds of thousands of dollars to avoid a doping ban before the 2012 London Olympics.

In addition, Papa Massata Diack and Balakhnichev were fined US$25,000 and Melnikov was fined US$15,000. Dolle was banned only for five years because “his sins were those of omission, not commission,” the IAAF panel said.

The investigation followed a report by German broadcaster ARD in December 2014 alleging that former Chicago Marathon winner Shobukhova paid 450,000 euros (US$520,000) to Russian officials, who threatened her with a doping ban before the London Games.

When Shobukhova was initially banned for two years in 2014, her husband reportedly received a 300,000-euro refund payment linked to Balakhnichev. Then treasurer at the IAAF, he stepped down within days of the program being broadcast.

The verdicts are separate from the criminal investigation in France into former IAAF officials. Lamine Diack was taken into custody by French authorities in November on corruption and money-laundering charges, suspected of taking over 1 million euros to blackmail athletes and cover up positive tests.

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