January 13, 2020 10:20 GMT
Lamine Diack, the disgraced former head of athletics’ world governing body, and five co-defendants are set to go on trial in Paris on January 13 over corruption charges linked to the Russian doping scandal.
Diack — who presided over the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), now World Athletics, for 16 years until 2015 — faces corruption and money-laundering charges.
The 86-year-old Senegalese has been under house arrest since November 2015 over claims he took payments of more than $3.3 million in a conspiracy to bury positive drug tests by Russian athletes in return for money.
If found guilty of the charges, which he denies, Diack could face up to 10 years in prison.
Also expected in court will be Habib Cisse, a lawyer who advised Diack, and the IAAF’s former anti-doping boss, Gabriel Dolle, for their roles in the alleged conspiracy. Both are French.
Diack’s son Papa Massata Diack, former Russian athletics chief and IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev, and Russia’s ex-middle distance coach Aleksei Melnikov are expected to be tried in absentia.
The trial is linked to a scandal that resulted in the Russian team being banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Russian athletes face the same punishment for next year’s Olympic games in Tokyo.
© RFE/RL 2020