Disgraced athletics chief’s son slams ‘witch hunt’
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.