FILE - In this Nov.12, 2011file photo, President of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) Lamine Diak poses at 2011 World Athletics Gala Awards, in Monaco. French legal authorities have decided to hold a trial for Lamine Diack, once one of the most influential men in Olympic sport, who was disgraced by investigations that uncovered corruption, extortion and doping cover-ups during his 16-year reign as head of the world governing body of track and field. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)

France to try former IAAF boss Diack and his son

June 24, 2019 - 7:02 am

PARIS (AP) — Lamine Diack, once one of the most influential men in Olympic sport, has been ordered to stand trial in France for his alleged role in a system of corruption, extortion and doping cover-ups during his reign at the top of athletics.

Diack was head of the IAAF for nearly 16 years. Arrested in France in 2015, he will be tried on charges of corruption, influence-trafficking, and money laundering, a French judicial official said on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the planned trial.

The money-laundering charge, alone, carries a potential jail term of up to 10 years. The 86-year-old Diack has been under orders to stay in France since his arrest. The trial date has not been fixed but is not expected before next year.

Also ordered to stand trial was one of Diack's sons, Papa Massata Diack. He has emerged as a central figure in French judicial probes of suspected corruption involving the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games and other sports events. The judicial official says the younger Diack will stand trial for complicity in corruption and money laundering. Believed to be living in Senegal, he could be tried in absentia.

French investigating magistrates overseeing the corruption probe of Diack's reign at the IAAF also ordered trials for Valentin Balakhnichev, a former IAAF treasurer, and Alexei Melnikov, a coach who led Russia's long-distance running program.

They, too, could be tried in absentia because Russia generally refuses to extradite its citizens. Balakhnichev will be tried for corruption and money laundering; Melnikov for corruption.

Also to be tried for corruption are Habib Cisse, a former legal adviser to Diack, and Gabriel Dolle, who was the IAAF anti-doping director.

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