US prosecutors investigating award of 2019 World Athletics Championships to Qatar

Author: ARAB NEWSThu, 2018-02-01 17:02ID: 1517482407438583100LONDON: Qatar is once again under the sporting spotlight after it emerged US prosecutors have widened their investigation into global sports corruption to include the Gulf state’s winning the right to host next year’s World Athletics Championships.
The New York Times reported that as part of the probe the Justice Department is looking at possible racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges related to the event, set to be held in Doha in September and October 2019.
The investigation is being conducted by the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, which has previously investigated FIFA and systematic doping in Russia.
A spokesman for the US Attorney’s office declined to comment on the report.
The office issued a number of subpoenas in January, solicited documents, testimony and financial records dating to 2013, the New York Times reported.
Of particular interest to prosecutors is the awarding of the World Athletics Champions to Doha and the 2021 event in Eugene, Oregon — a place with very close ties to global sportswear brand Nike.
Those summoned could appear as soon as this week.
It is not just in the US that those two competitions have drawn a huge amount of suspicion. In France the national prosecutor has been investigating the IAAF, the governing body of athletics, and its choices of Doha and Eugene. And last June the BBC reported that the FBI was investigating Eugene’s selection which was secured without a bidding process.
The IAAF, like FIFA, has not escaped its fair share of controversy over the past few years. Lamine Diack, who ran the international track federation for 16 years up until 2015, and served as a longtime member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has been detained in France since November 2015, accused of accepting bribes for covering up the doping violations of Russian athletes.
This is not the first time Qatar has been the subject of corruption allegations in athletics. In 2014 The Guardian reported that Diack’s son, Papa Massate Diack, reportedly asked for $5 million from the country when it was bidding to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
Connections to Diack and his son led the Brazilian authorities to arrest Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the head of Brazil’s Olympic committee, last year amid suspicions that Rio de Janeiro’s successful bid to stage the 2016 Summer Games was helped by bribes paid to members of the IOC.
Diack has been replaced as IAAF boss by Sebastian Coe — the former double 1500m Olympic champion. He has faced conflict of interest allegations after an email emerged suggesting he lobbied his predecessor over the hosting of the 2021 World Championships to Eugene — at the time he was paid $100,000 by Nike.
There has been much focus on Qatar and its relationship with sports governing bodies since it surprisingly won the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
Since that decision in 2010, allegations have emerged that FIFA officials took bribes in order to vote for the Gulf state, and that then FIFA boss Sepp Blatter knew Qatar would win before the envelope announcing the winner was opened.
Main category: SportsTags: IAAFworld athletics championshipsQatarIOCsports corruption2022 FIFA World CupQatar World Cup 2022related_nodes: Qatar World Cup in danger of being shown a red cardFBI to investigate Russia, Qatar World Cup bidsQatar World Cup faces threat of construction delays, sponsorship worries

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