Former IAAF president Lamine Diack has been placed under a criminal investigation over allegations of corruption and money laundering, French authorities said on Wednesday.
Diack, who stepped down from his post in August, is suspected of accepting €200,000 in bribes to cover up an as of yet unknown number of positive doping tests in Russian athletics.
An official from the Parquet National Financier (PNF) – the French financial prosecutor’s office – confirmed that Diack is being investigated along with his senior adviser Habib Cisse, while the former anti-doping director Gabriel Dolle was taken into custody in Nice.
The PNF said its probe began after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) alerted them to “acts of corruption and laundering involving members of the International Association of Athletics Federations”.
French police are understood to have carried out interviews and taken documents during their raid on the headquarters of the Monaco-based IAAF on Tuesday.
Other individuals connected to the former IAAF president, including the current chief Sebastian Coe who submitted for questioning, are also being examined.
The investigation follows allegations of widespread doping in Russian athletics made a December 2014 documentary produced by the German broadcaster ARD.
It was alleged that athletes were supplied with banned substances for a percentage of their earnings, test samples were routinely opened at borders, and that senior members of the IAAF and the Russian athletics federation were complicit in the processes.
WADA established an independent commission to take a closer look at the allegations, the results of which are expected to be made public at next Monday’s press conference, though it is thought not all the findings will be published due to the ongoing police investigations.
A WADA spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the criminal proceedings.
The International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission late on Wednesday announced they would be conducting their own investigation into Diack, who is an IOC Honourary Member.
In a statement, French prosecutors said: “Diack is suspected of receiving money in exchange for deferring sanctions for several Russian athletes who were found guilty of doping in 2011, ahead of the Olympic Games.
“Diack and Cisse were arrested on Sunday and released on Tuesday, after being interrogated by police officers and judges.
“They were presented to a judge on Tuesday who informed them that they had been put under a formal investigation. The investigation also continues into whether other persons were involved in suspected corruption.”