Dis­graced ath­let­ics chief’s son slams ‘witch hunt’

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DAKAR: Papa Mas­sata Di­ack, son of dis­graced for­mer IAAF chief Lamine Di­ack, slammed cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions against him over the award­ing of the 2016 Olympic Games to Rio as a “witch hunt“, in an exclusive in­ter­view on Mon­day.

“Rio won fairly,” Mas­sata, who rarely speaks to the in­ter­na­tional me­dia, in­sisted, as he re­futed “in the most vir­u­lent man­ner” ac­cu­sa­tions made against him in the French daily Le Monde.

Ac­cord­ing to Le Monde, three days be­fore the IOC awarded the Games to Rio, Brazil­ian busi­ness­man Ce­sar Menezes Soares Filho paid US$1.5 mil­lion (RM6.75 mil­lion) to Pamodzi Sports Con­sult­ing, the busi­ness of Mas­sata, to favour the award­ing of the Games to Rio.

At the time, Lamine was pres­i­dent of the IAAF and a vot­ing mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC).

Mas­sata acted as a mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant for the IAAF.

“This com­pany (Brazil­ian) was a client,” said Mas­sata of Soares Filho’s Mat­lock Cap­i­tal Group, slam­ming “un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions.”

Ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per, “mag­is­trates sus­pect ma­noeu­vres in­tended to buy the votes of IOC mem­bers at the time of the des­ig­na­tion.”

“There is an un­wor­thy witch hunt cre­ated around this case, while the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is not cred­i­ble, has not been done in a pro­fes­sional way and (is) con­tra­dic­tory,” said Mas­sata.

Mas­sata and his fa­ther are both un­der crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion in France, with Lamine charged with cor­rup­tion and ag­gra­vated money laun­der­ing.

The French ju­di­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which ini­tially focused on cor­rup­tion within the IAAF, was ex­tended in De­cem­ber 2015 to the award­ing of the 2016 Olympics to Rio and the 2020 Games to Tokyo.

Since De­cem­ber 2015, Mas­sata has been placed on In­ter­pol’s list of most wanted per­sons af­ter an ar­rest war­rant was is­sued by France in con­nec­tion with the pros­e­cu­tion of his fa­ther.

Mas­sata was last year banned for life by the in­de­pen­dent IAAF ethics com­mit­tee over cor­rup­tion and cover-up al­le­ga­tions linked to Rus­sian dop­ing.

“They should come to Sene­gal to in­ves­ti­gate and I can re­spond for­mally in­stead of or­gan­is­ing leaks in the press,” said Mas­sata, who lives in Dakar as the Sene­galese gov­ern­ment has in­di­cated he will not be ex­tra­dited to France.

In the in­ter­view, Mas­sata also de­plored the treat­ment of his 83year-old fa­ther, “taken hostage” by France.

“They don’t even want to grant him tem­po­rary re­lease. They want to make him crack psy­cho­log­i­cally,” he said.

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