Le Monde newspaper reported on Friday that Diack told French police
he asked Valentin Balakhnichev, then-president of the Russian track
and field federation, for 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) to
finance political opposition in Senegal in 2011.
Diack has been placed under formal investigation in France on
suspicion of corruption and money laundering following a complaint
from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last month, allegations his
family called "excessive and insignificant".
Le Monde quoted from what it said were transcripts of Diack's
interview with the police and an investigating magistrate in
November, when he was questioned on suspicion of covering up
positive dope tests on Russian athletes.
Sall, 50, was the main challenger to Senegal's then-president
Abdoulaye Wade, 85, in the March 2012 election that was widely
praised as fair and democratic.
"President Lamine Diack affirms that he never gave the slightest sum
of money to the candidate, Macky Sall, who became president of
Senegal, nor to his electoral campaign managers," Diack's lawyers
Daouda Diop, Christian Charriere-Bournazel and Alexandre Varaut
wrote in the statement emailed to Reuters.
"Everything, both in his declarations to the police and to the
investigating magistrate, demonstrates this," they wrote. "Any
contribution that may have come from Russia to Senegal has no link
with either the functions or the actions of Mr Lamine Diack in his
role of IAAF president."
"He reaffirms finally that he neither sought nor obtained personal
[to top of second column]
Reuters' calls to Balakhnichev on Friday evening were not answered,
but Le Monde quoted him as denying having had such a discussion with
Diack or being involved in such an arrangement.
Diack, who has been released on bail but is banned from leaving
France, was quoted as telling investigators: "At that time, there
were the suspension problems of the Russian athletes a few months
ahead of the world championships in Russia.
"We came to an agreement, Russian-financed. It's Balakhnichev who
organized all that."
Last month, Russia was suspended from international athletics on the
recommendation of an independent WADA commission, which had
uncovered systematic state-sponsored doping and cover-ups.
Balakhnichev, who stepped down as head of the Russian athletics
federation in February, has denied WADA allegations of conspiring to
blackmail athletes ahead of the 2012 London Olympics. He has also
said he will take legal action to defend his name and that of
(Reporting by James Regan and Julien Pretot; Editing by Tom
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