By Diadie Ba
DAKAR (Reuters) – Papa Massata Diack has described accusations he was part of a large corruption racket involved in determining the location of the Olympic games as the biggest lie in the history of world sport.
France’s financial prosecutor said this week that investigations had revealed a corruption scheme centered on Diack, the son of the former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Lamine Diack.
The prosecutor said there were indications that payments were made in return for the votes of IAAF and International Olympic Committee (IOC) members over the designation of host cities for the Olympics and other major sporting events.
“This accusation is the biggest lie in the history of world sport,” Diack told Reuters in Senegal on Friday. He blamed the accusations on a smear campaign to tarnish his father’s reputation.
“Sometimes I accompanied my father to assist in his personal work, but to say that I organized votes… my job was to help the IAAF identify countries to organize sporting events,” he said.
Lamine Diack was president of the IAAF from 1999-2015. He was the first African head of athletics’ governing body and an influential member of the IOC.
His son was a former marketing consultant to the IAAF.
Brazilian investigators said this week that politicians and the head of the national Olympic committee arranged a $2 million bribe for Lamine Diack’s vote and for him to convince other IOC members from Africa to bring the 2016 games to Rio de Janeiro.
The elder Diack is being detained in France as investigations continue. His son said that if investigators want to speak to him they will have to come to Senegal.
(Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Toby Davis)