Former IAAF president Lamine Diack has been handed a two-year jail sentence for his role in a scheme that allowed Russian athletes who paid millions to cover up doping violations to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping.
The guilty verdict in a Paris court on Wednesday completed a spectacular fall from grace for the 87-year-old Diack, who was the powerful head of the IAAF from 1999-2015 and mixed with world leaders and was influential in the world of Olympic sports.
Diack, who was also given two years of suspended jail time and a maximum fine of 500,000 euros ($590,000), was investigated by French authorities for four years over claims he took payments of more than 3m euros to cover up cheating.
His lawyers said they will appeal, which will keep Diack out of jail for now. Diack did not address reporters as he walked out of court.
One of Diack’s lawyers, Simon Ndiaye, called the verdict “unjust and inhuman” and said the court made his client a “scapegoat.”
Diack was convicted of accepting bribes from athletes suspected of doping to cover up test results and letting them continue competing, including in the 2012 London Olympics but acquitted of a money laundering charge.
The Senegalese has been under house arrest in Paris since November 2015.
After the expiration of his 16-year tenure as International Association of Athletics’ Federations now World Athletics, he was replaced by Britain’s Lord Coe in August 2015.
Diack’s son Papa Massata Diack – who was banned for life from athletics in 2016 – was sentenced to five years in prison and a given a 1m euros fine.