Athletics doping: London 2012 medallists 'suspected cheats'

IAAF Headquarters in Monaco
The IAAF's headquarters in Monaco were searched earlier in the week

London 2012 medallists are among suspected Russian drugs cheats who escaped bans when bribes were allegedly paid to the heads of world athletics.

The Sunday Timesexternal-link claims it has obtained a list of eight athletes who officials recommended should be banned in 2011.

But it is alleged Lamine Diack, then head of athletics' world governing body the IAAF, and Dr Gabriel Dolle, the ex-anti-doping chief, received payments.

On Wednesday the pair were placed under investigation by French prosecutors.

Diack, who was in charge of the International Association of Athletics Federations for 16 years until the 82-year-old stepped down in August, is alleged to have received one million euros in payments in 2011. An additional 200,000 euros was allegedly paid to Dolle, to cover up positive doping tests.

Diack, Dolle and the former's legal adviser, Habib Cisse, face preliminary charges of corruption by France's financial prosecuting body. Diack also faces charges of money laundering.

New IAAF president Lord Coe, who has offered to co-operate with French police, gave his first response to the sport's latest crisis on Saturday evening. He said: "That people in our sport have allegedly extorted money from athletes guilty of doping violations is abhorrent."

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) was already investigating the IAAF following allegations made in a German TV documentary in December 2014 of systematic doping and cover-ups in Russia. It passed on information to French authorities in the summer.

The agency is due to report the findings of its year-long inquiry in Geneva on Monday, with one investigator saying it will reveal "a whole different scale of corruption" compared to an ongoing scandal at football's world governing body, Fifa.

On Friday, international sports lawyer Richard McLaren, who is one of three Wada independent commissioners to have co-authored the report, said their findings were "going to be a real game-changer for sport".

"You potentially have a bunch of old men who put a whole lot of extra money in their pockets - through extortion and bribes - but also caused significant changes to actual results and final standings of international athletics competitions," he said.

He added his team had "found evidence to support what was said in the documentary".

Lamine Diack
Senegalese Lamine Diack, 82, was placed under formal investigation by French prosecutors this week

Diack ended his reign as IAAF president in August, when Briton Coe, a double Olympic 1500m winner, was elected as his replacement.

Meanwhile Diack's son, Papa Massata Diack, is among four men including Dolle, charged by the IAAF over breaches of its ethics code.

The charges relate to covering up Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova's doping violations, the IAAF ethics commission chairman said, and were announced on Friday after the lifting of reporting restrictions.

Papa Massata Diack is a former consultant to the IAAF. The other two charged men are: the former president of the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) Alexei Melnikov and Valentin Balakhnichev, a former chief ARAF coach for long distance walkers and runners.

Hearings to consider their cases will take place in London next month.

In a separate development, Kenya has been warned by Wada that it is serious about a possible four-year ban - that would prevent the country's athletes from taking part in international competitions - unless the African nation's anti-doping efforts are stepped up.

Anti-doping test
The World Anti-Doping Agency has been investigating the IAAF since a German TV documentary in December 2014 that made allegations of systematic doping and cover-ups in Russia - a report will be published on Monday
Timeline: Athletics doping accusations
December 2014: German documentary alleges Russian doping scandal
February 2015: Diack says athletics faces 'crisis'
August 2015: Coe says IAAF will react robustly
August 2015: Wada 'alarmed' by fresh allegations
November 2015: Ex-athletics chief Lamine Diack investigated in corruption inquiry

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