Olympics
Associated Press 89d

Life bans upheld for track officials in doping, bribery case

Olympic Sports, Track and Field

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Life bans for the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack and Russia's former top athletics official have been upheld in a doping and bribery case.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Monday that its judging panel dismissed appeals by Papa Massata Diack and former IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev against bans by the governing body.

Alexei Melnikov, who led Russia's long-distance running program, also had his life ban confirmed.

"The panel concluded that on the evidence adduced, the charges against Balakhnichev, Melnikov and Diack were established beyond reasonable doubt," the court said in a statement.

The full reasoned verdict is expected to be published at a later date.

Papa Massata Diack, then an IAAF marketing consultant, is subject to an international arrest warrant and believed to be in his native Senegal. He is wanted for questioning by France authorities in a corruption case linked to Russian doping and blackmail that also implicates his father.

An IAAF ethics committee imposed life bans in January 2016 for an alleged conspiracy to extort money from Russian runner Liliya Shobukhova, a former winner of the Boston, Chicago and London Marathons who later turned whistleblower.

The IAAF's case followed a report by German broadcaster ARD in December 2014 alleging that Shobukhova paid 450,000 euros ($530,000) to Russian officials who threatened her with a ban for doping before the 2012 London Olympics. She competed at the Olympics though did not finish the race.

When Shobukhova was eventually banned for two years in 2014, her husband reportedly received a 300,000 euro ($355,000) refund payment from an account in Singapore linked to Papa Massata Diack, the IAAF investigation found.

Banning the three men last year, the IAAF said they "acted dishonestly and corruptly and did unprecedented damage to the sport of track and field which, by their actions, they have brought into serious disrepute."

Lamine Diack, a longtime International Olympic Committee member who left sports in 2015, is suspected by French authorities of taking more than 1 million euros ($1.18 million) to blackmail athletes and cover up positive tests.

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