MOSCOW, November 25. /TASS/. At least six Russian athletes are suspected of bribing officials of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for concealing positive doping samples, the German TV Channel ARD reported on Friday, citing investigation materials of the Paris Prosecutor’s Office.
The Paris Prosecutor’s Office has opened a probe into the suspicions of financial fraud at the world’s athletics governing body in 2014. According to the data received by ARD from the probe’s materials, IAAF representatives demanded from 300,000 euros to 700,000 euros from six Russian athletes for not disclosing the data on their positive doping samples.
The ARD footage also notes that former head of the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) Valentin Balakhnichev was an intermediary in the corruption schemes of former IAAF President Lamine Diack: about 1.5 million euros passed hands through the ARAF ex-chief.
Diack has denied his complicity in the doping cover-up scandal, saying he would have never demanded any money from athletes. Nonetheless, as the TV channel says, the six Russians are not the sole athletes who are forced to give bribes. About 23 athletes are mentioned in the probe, ARD said.
According to the TV Channel, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) may also be involved in the doping cover-up scandal. WADA Chief Craig Reedie earlier asserted he had never heard about any cases of extortion inside the IAAF. However, in the autumn of 2014, the WADA sent a letter to the IAAF Ethics Commission with information on suspected doping samples of Russian athletes, and also about its suspicions of the athletes’ possible blackmailing by the IAAF. Despite this, the world’s anti-doping body took no efforts to open a probe into this information.