Europe

Athletics doping: Interpol to co-ordinate probe

The issue of doping in sport has been a concern since the 1920s Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Doping in athletics is under the spotlight

International police body Interpol has said it will coordinate a French-led global investigation into doping allegations in athletics.

Its announcement came at the same time as a team of investigators for the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended Russia be banned from athletics.

Last week, French prosecutors accused the sport's governing body's ex-president of being involved.

He is alleged to have taken bribes to cover up doping cases.

Interpol's announcement follows Monday's publication of a report by an independent commission established by Wada investigating a number of individuals, including former officials of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the agency said in a statement.

"The world police body is now working with member countries potentially linked to the inquiry, including Singapore, to seek assistance in co-ordinating a global investigative network and support the criminal investigation on the basis of the intelligence gathered by the [Wada] independent commission."

According to French investigative news agency Mediapart, the people who conducted doping inquiries for Wada believe a company registered in Singapore was used to channel certain funds that were part of the corruption operation.

As part of the inquiry, French police last week raided premises belonging to individuals and companies, Interpol said.

The Wada report was commissioned to "determine the accuracy" of allegations made in a German TV documentary about Russian athletics last December.

"The IC [independent commission] has withheld most of the contents of the chapter on the IAAF in order to not compromise the continuing efforts in respect of information provided to Interpol," the Wada report says.

"The IC is in possession of information which has been passed on to Interpol for the purposes of an integrated investigative activity, Operation Augeas. Therefore, most of the IC's recommendations in respect of the IAAF are being withheld until such time as the full chapter is released."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Former IAAF president Lamine Diack is under investigation on suspicion of corruption and money laundering

French prosecutors are already investigating former IAAF President Lamine Diack, who was put under criminal investigation last week on suspicion of corruption and money laundering.

He is alleged to have received more than €1m (£700,000; $1.1m) in bribes in 2011 to cover up positive doping tests by Russian athletes, Reuters quoted the office of France's financial prosecutor as saying.

The 82-year-old Senegalese stepped down in August after 16 years as IAAF president when Briton Sebastian Coe was elected as his replacement.

Timeline: Athletics doping accusations

December 2014: German documentary alleges Russian doping scandal

February 2015: Diack says athletics faces 'crisis'

August 2015: Coe says IAAF will react robustly

August 2015: Wada 'alarmed' by fresh allegations

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