Coe aide steps down from IAAF - French magistrates file tougher charges against Diack
The director of IAAF President Sebastian Coe's office temporarily stepped down yesterday pending an ethics investigation into emails linked to Russian doping cases.
Emails sent by Nick Davies, leaked to a French newspaper and published this week, indicated that he tried to delay public identification of alleged Russian drug cheats before the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.
"I have decided to step aside from my role with the IAAF until such time as the ethics board is able to review the matter properly and decide if I am responsible for any breach of the IAAF code of ethics," Davies said in a statement.
Davies was IAAF communications director at the time under Lamine Diack, who was succeeded by Coe as president in August. The French criminal case against Diack deepened this week, with magistrates filing new, tougher corruption charges against him in connection with cover-ups of Russian doping.
French prosecutors also suspect Diack's son, Papa Massata Diack, a former IAAF marketing consultant, played an active role in an alleged "system of corruption" that sought to blackmail athletes, with demands of money to hush-up suspected doping.
Davies is reported to have sent an email to Papa Massata Diack in 2013 asking what "Russian 'skeleton' we have still in the cupboard regarding doping" and suggesting using the marketing company chaired by Coe - then IAAF vice-president - to lead an "unofficial PR campaign" to "avoid international media scandals" related to the Moscow championships.
If Russian athletes guilty of doping were not competing in Moscow, "then we might as well wait until the event is over to announce them", Davies wrote in the email, which was published on Monday by Le Monde.
After promoting Davies to run his office at the IAAF in September, Coe is now losing one of his closest aides just as he tries to clean up the scandal-tainted governing body.
EMAILS REFERRED TO BOARD
"In order to demonstrate that I am willing to have all allegations of unethical behaviour on my part in 2013 properly and fairly investigated, I have referred my emails to Papa Massata Diack in 2013, my statements and the circumstances of the emails to the IAAF ethics board," Davies said in yesterday's statement.
Davies has suggested that emails reflected his job "to manage and promote the reputation of the IAAF".
Russia's athletics federation was suspended by the IAAF after a World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission found evidence of systemic doping and cover-ups.
Lamine Diack is now accused of "active corruption", which generally involves offering money or other promises in exchange for violating a rule, an official with the Paris financial prosecutor's office said yesterday.
Diack was previously accused of "passive corruption", on suspicion he took around €1 million (US$1.1 million) to cover up positive drug tests by Russian athletes.
The official told the Associated Press the new preliminary charges center on suspicions that Diack bribed Gabriel Dolle, the former IAAF anti-doping chief who was also under investigation, to delay reporting of violations by Russian athletes.
The preliminary charges allow magistrates more time to investigate before deciding whether to file formal charges and whether to send a case to trial. Diack, an 82-year-old former long jumper, is free on bail pending further investigation, but barred from leaving France.