New evidence of graft in Qatar’s bid for 2017 World Championships
Payments made to Qatari officials by Senegalese businessman’s firm, says ‘Le Monde’
Former IAAF president Lamine Diack is accused of accepting more than €1 million in return for covering up positive drug tests: His son, Papa Massata Diack, is wanted by Interpol on charges of complicity in receiving bribes. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty
A company founded by a former senior figure at the IAAF, the governing body of world athletics, reportedly received two payments totalling $3.5 million (€3.3 million) just days before Qatar’s failed bid to host the 2017 World Championships and while the Gulf state was also bidding for the 2020 Olympics, it has emerged.
Le Monde reported it had receipts from 2011 showing that payments went from Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) – an arm of the Qatari government – to Pamodzi Sports Marketing, a company founded by Senegalese businessman Papa Massata Diack, a former marketing consultant at the International Association of Athletics Federations and the son of the now disgraced IAAF president Lamine Diack.
Papa Massata Diack, who was banned for life from track and field for corruption earlier this year, denied “ever acting in such a manner” in December 2014 when the Guardian revealed emails which appeared to show that he had asked for $5 million in payments from QSI in 2011. The Qatar Athletics Federation has also denied any wrongdoing by QSI, although French prosecutors are believed to be analysing bidding processes for all World Championships awarded for events between 2009 and 2022 as part of their investigation into IAAF corruption.
However, Le Monde says it has evidence that a bank transfer for $3 million was carried out on October 13th, 2011, from QSI to Pamodzi – with another $500,000 put through on November 7th, four days before the vote to stage the 2017 World Athletics Championships went to London.
Three years’ later Doha was finally awarded the rights to host the 2019 championships after sending a letter to members of the IAAF Council, pledging £23.5 million (€27.5 million) in sponsorship and television rights just minutes before the vote. The IAAF has insisted the practice of offering last-minute incentives complied with its bidding rules.
Papa Massata Diack was unreachable for comment. The 50-year-old, who is in hiding in Senegal, is wanted by Interpol on charges of complicity in receiving bribes, aggravated money-laundering, and conspiracy in an organised group to invest, conceal or convert the proceeds of active corruption.
This year he was banned for life by the independent IAAF ethics committee over corruption and cover-up allegations linked to Russian doping earlier this year.
Last month, it dropped an investigation into allegations that “brown envelopes” were handed over on the eve of the 2017 vote, saying it found no indication of any bribery nor any evidence to support claims that IAAF president Sebastian Coe had voiced such concerns.
Papa Massata Diack was also apparently involved in a scheme to deliver “parcels” to influential members of the International Olympic Committee, according to leaked emails seen by the Guardian.
Meanwhile, Lamine Diack, who was president of the IAAF between 1999 and 2015, will return to court in Paris on Monday. The 83-year-old, who is accused of accepting more than €1 million in return for covering up positive drug tests, risks going to jail having not paid his bail.
The French police investigation into both Diacks have also suggested huge amounts of cash changing hands in the Fairmont Hotel in Monaco where Lamine Diack stayed in a grace and favour apartment and Papa Massata Diack went on a lavish shopping spree in Paris for luxury watches.
– (Guardian service)