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The Latest: Olympic committee to work closely with IAAF
Jan. 14, 2016
MUNICH (AP) — The Latest from the IAAF investigation (all times local):
The International Olympic Committee says it will work closely with the new leadership of track and field's governing body and will "undertake any necessary action" to protect sports from corruption.
The IOC says it "takes note" of the second report of the World Anti-Doping Agency panel's report into corruption and doping involving former leaders of the IAAF.
The IOC says in a statement that the report "underlines the importance of the protection of the clean athletes" and "we will continue to work closely with the new leadership of the IAAF."
The IOC says it supports the report's call for good governance in sports organizations.
The Olympic body will "now study the report in detail and will undertake any necessary action to protect and strengthen the integrity of sport."
The WADA report said former IAAF president Lamine Diack "was responsible for organizing and enabling the conspiracy and corruption that took place." It said he "sanctioned and appears to have had personal knowledge of the fraud and the extortion of athletes."
Diack is a former IOC member.
The IOC noted that it suspended Diack after the first WADA report came out in November, and that Diack subsequently resigned as an honorary member.
The WADA report indicated that Diack was prepared to sell his vote in the bidding for the 2020 Olympics in exchange for sponsorship of IAAF events.
The panel, chaired by Canadian IOC member Dick Pound, said it "did not investigate this matter further for it was not within our remit."
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says he backs all the recommendations in the WADA commission's report published Thursday.
The report focuses on alleged corruption and extortion at the IAAF, including attempts to cover up doping by Russian athletes, and recommends the IAAF investigate past malpractice and prevent corrupt relationships between officials and the IAAF and at national federations.
Mutko was sharply critical of the commission's first report in November alleging state-sponsored doping in Russia, which led to the country's suspension from track and field, but is much more conciliatory about Thursday's report.
"We fully support all of the conclusions and decisions, we understand our share of responsibility," he told the state-run Tass agency. "We are continuing to work together with colleagues from the IAAF and WADA."
Even though the WADA commission accusing former Russian track federation head Valentin Balakhnichev of taking part in extortion, the new report "is more about corruption in the system of administration, in the world sports movement," Mutko said. "Today it's no longer a completely Russian problem and not a problem for states."
Sebastian Coe says the IAAF needs independent anti-doping systems and that there is "a long way to go" in the fight against doping.
"We have to make sure all those changes we put in place slowly and gradually regain the trust of the public," the IAAF president said after the presentation of the second report from World Anti-Doping Agency panel.
The report says IAAF remains an organization in denial. But commission head Dick Pound backed Coe to stay at the helm of the IAAF, saying he was the best man to lead the organization out of the crisis and restore its credibility.
The World Anti-Doping Agency says it is "alarmed" by the level of wrongdoing uncovered by its independent commission into doping.
The report, presented Thursday in Munich, details cover-ups and criminal conspiracy, corruption and bribery among former leaders of the International Association of Athletics Federations.
WADA says it is "alarmed that this ultimately allowed doped athletes to evade punishment and sanctioning for a long period of time."
WADA president Craig Reedie says "it is hugely disturbing that individuals at the highest levels of the IAAF were abetting and covering up doping for their own financial gain."
He adds: "This flagrant disregard for the law and anti-doping rules undermines trust among clean athletes, and indeed the public, worldwide."
WADA notes the report did not recommend that the IAAF be declared non-compliant with the global anti-doping code. Instead, it cites the IAAF as being among the "most active" in anti-doping efforts.
WADA also noted that the report found that the leaked database, reported on by German and British media outlets in August, was "incomplete" and that suspicious blood values could not be considered evidence of doping.
Reedie thanked "the courageous whistle-blowers and investigative journalists who brought this information to WADA."
Former Russian track federation president Valentin Balakhnichev says the WADA commission's report offers "no proof" he committed any wrongdoing, only conjecture.
Balakhnichev, who stepped down in February 2015 following doping scandals, is accused of extorting money from Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova and involvement in attempts to cover up Russian doping.
Speaking with The Associated Press by telephone, he says "there's no proof presented at all" and that "the evidence is scarce."
He also denied involvement in the alleged extortion, saying it was "absolutely unjust ... to accuse me of that."
Balakhnichev was banned for life last week by the IAAF in connection with the Shobukhova case.
He also denied taking part in what the WADA report says was a meeting in 2012 to discuss a $6 million "problem" with TV rights for the 2013 world championships in Moscow, saying no such meeting took place and that he was not authorized to discuss such matters.
The report calls for a "forensic examination" of the process for awarding the rights.
The WADA investigators appealed for a detailed police investigation of all the world championships that the IAAF awarded from 2009-19 because of evidence of possible wrongdoing they uncovered in the course of their probe.
"We think it important that there be a forensic audit," panel member Richard McLaren told The Associated Press. "It's information that we have. We don't have hard evidence, but it's enough information that we think that it bears a serious investigation."
He said they suspect that some hosting awards may have been tainted by bribery.
"You are going to have to through financial records, documents, computer records, cell phones," McLaren said.
Russian bank VTB has denied any impropriety after a World Anti-Doping Agency panel called for a "forensic examination" of its relationship with the scandal-hit IAAF.
The WADA report says that in 2012, the son of then-IAAF president Lamine Diack, Papa Massata Diack, arranged a $25 million sponsorship deal with VTB, which is majority-owned by the Russian government.
The report notes that was around the time of an alleged meeting in Moscow between senior IAAF figures and Russian officials over what the report calls a "problem" with TV rights for the 2013 world championships in Moscow. The report says the unspecified "problem" was valued at $6 million and says the TV rights award process may be linked to doping cover-ups.
While the WADA report admits it is not clear exactly what transpired, it calls for the VTB deal to be examined in detail "to ensure legitimacy of the process applied."
VTB first deputy president Vasily Titov tells the Tass agency that the deal was "of an exclusively sponsorship nature" with no connection to the TV rights.
VTB said in November its sponsorship deal with the IAAF was ending, shortly after a previous WADA report detailed doping in Russian track and field.
France's financial prosecutor has given an update on the French criminal investigation into corruption involving former IAAF officials.
The case involves former IAAF president Lamine Diack, legal adviser Habib Cisse and former IAAF anti-doping department head Gabriel Dolle.
Prosecutor Eliane Houlette says that when police searched Dolle's house, he pointed them to a safe which contained 87,000 euros ($95,000) in cash, in eight envelopes.
Houlette did not announce any new arrests. She said a French arrest warrant for Diack's son, Papa Massata Diack, was issued on Dec. 16.
Houlette said French investigators are working with Russian authorities on the case and have also asked for help from Singapore.
The WADA report indicates that Lamine Diack, a former IOC member, was prepared to sell his vote in the 2020 Olympic hosting contest in exchange for sponsorship for IAAF events.
The accusation, which is mentioned in a footnote to the report, emerged when Turkish track officials appeared to record a meeting with Diack's son, Khalil.
Istanbul had been in a three-candidate race to host the 2020 Games, which was won by Tokyo in September 2013.
The report notes that: "Turkey lost LD's support because they did not pay sponsorship moneys of $4 to 5 million either to the Diamond League or IAAF. According (to) the transcript the Japanese did pay such a sum."
The WADA-appointed panel chaired by IOC member Dick Pound "did not investigate this matter further for it was not within our remit."
"We have had reports from people who seem to know what they are talking about," Pound said at a news conference. "We have brought that to the attention of the IAAF and recommended they take a vigorous forensic look at it, to see whether there is anything to the allegations."
The sons of former IAAF president Lamine Diack made two attempts to extort money from Olympic 1,500-meter champion Asli Alptekin to cover up suspected doping, according to the WADA report.
Alptekin won Olympic gold in London and got a 500,000 euro ($545,000) bonus from Turkey's government. Her suspicious blood values ahead of the London Games were later notified to Turkish officials.
The report says Papa Massata Diack tried to extort 650,000 euros ($710,000) at a November 2012 meeting in Monaco with Alptekin's representatives. He quickly reduced his demands to 350,000 euros ($382,000).
Days later in Istanbul, Papa Massata Diack met the runner and her husband and payments of 100,000-250,000 euros ($110,000-$273,000) were discussed.
The report says: "The Alptekins agreed to pay something if a guarantee was given," and gave Diack — who was liaising with IAAF anti-doping manager Gabriel Dolle — a first sum of 35,000 euros ($38,000).
Alptekin was cleared in 2013 of doping charges by Turkey's athletics federations, and the IAAF considered an appeal to seek a ban.
Khalil Diack then told Alptekin he could ensure through his father that the IAAF would not appeal.
The report said the Diack brothers "committed fraud by representing themselves as being able to cover up (a doping) rule violation."
Interpol has issued a global red notice that Papa Massata Diack is wanted for questioning in France.
The author of the independent report detailing doping corruption in Russia isn't sure the country will clean up its act fast enough to be allowed in the Olympics later this year.
Dick Pound said as recently as November that there certainly was time for the track team to follow the roadmap that would lead it out of its current suspension.
He reiterated that point Thursday but said he didn't have enough facts about where Russia was in the process to know if it will be reinstated by August.
The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency panel says there is no one better than Sebastian Coe to lead track's governing body.
With Coe watching in the audience, Dick Pound says "as far as the ability of Lord Coe to remain as head of the IAAF, I think it's a fabulous opportunity for the IAAF to seize this opportunity and under strong leadership to move forward."
Pound, a former WADA president, adds "there's enormous amount of reputational recovery that has to occur here and I can't ... think of anyone better than Lord Coe to lead that. All our fingers are crossed in that respect."
When asked if the IAAF remained an organization in denial, Pound says "yes. Of course there was cover-up and delay and all sorts of things. Acknowledge this. If you can't acknowledge it you are never going to get past it."
Coe replaced Lamine Diack as president of the IAAF in August.
The report on doping in Russia details a relationship between the IAAF's former president, Lamine Diack, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
With cases against nine Russian athletes unresolved and the 2013 world championships looming, the report says Diack explained to a lawyer that he is in a "difficult position that could only be resolved by President Putin of Russia with whom he had struck up a friendship."
The report says that eventually none of the nine athletes competed but none had their disciplinary cases followed up.
The nine athletes, four of whom have won Olympic gold medals, all eventually received doping bans, though some were not banned until as late as January 2015.
A World Anti-Doping Agency report says international track and field leaders should have been aware of the extent of doping in Russia.
The report says the IAAF governing council "could not have been unaware of the level of nepotism that operated within the IAAF," and also "could not have been unaware of the extent of doping."
The report laid considerable blame at the feet of the IAAF Council, which included the now president, Sebastian Coe.
The report said that Russia had "become a doping haven."
The report says "there was an evident lack of political appetite within the IAAF to confront Russia with the full and known extent of its known and suspected doping activities."
The French arrest warrant for Papa Massata Diack — which has been transmitted as an international wanted alert via Interpol — means he could be arrested if he travels outside his home country of Senegal, especially to European Union countries with which France's legal authorities work closely.
In November, French prosecutor Eliane Houlette told The Associated Press that authorities had planned to arrest Papa Massata Diack at around the same time that they also took his father into custody, in a hotel room, in November.
"We didn't arrest Mr. Diack's son because he didn't come to Paris when he was meant to. But he is also implicated in this affair," she said. "We haven't had the opportunity to arrest him in France. We would have done so if we could."
The Interpol alert is based on a French arrest warrant that was issued for Papa Massata Diack in December.
France has issued an international wanted notice via Interpol for Papa Massata Diack, the son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack, saying he is wanted for corruption and money laundering.
The French request was lodged last month. The so-called Red Notice is posted on Interpol's website. That alerts Interpol's members that Diack is wanted in France.
The notice says the former IAAF marketing consultant is "wanted by the judicial authorities of France for prosecution to serve a sentence."
France's national financial prosecutor told The Associated Press last year that Papa Massata Diack is suspected of being actively involved in a bribery and blackmail scheme also allegedly involving his father when he presided over the governing body of track and field. The elder Diack was arrested in France last November and subsequently charged with corruption and money laundering. Also under criminal investigation in France are Diack's former legal counsel, Habib Cisse, and the IAAF's former director of anti-doping, Gabriel Dolle.
A World Anti-Doping Agency commission is to report a second volume of findings later Thursday on IAAF corruption in the handling of Russia's doping crisis.