LONDON – IAAF President Sebastian Coe’s former right-hand man was expelled from athletics’ governing body on Tuesday after admitting to concealing cash payments during the scandal-plagued previous administration. But Nick Davies was cleared of corruption and allowed to continue working in athletics and at IAAF events.
The senior IAAF official was found to have misled investigators from the World Anti-Doping Agency, French judicial authorities and the IAAF over the 30,000 euros (now $32,000) received ahead of the 2013 world championships.
The payments from then-president Lamine Diack came via his son Papa Massata Diack, a former marketing consultant at the IAAF who was last year banned for life from the sport in a bribery and extortion case involving Russian doping. Both father and son are being investigated by French prosecutors on corruption charges linked to coverups of Russian doping cases.
Davies served as communications director and deputy secretary general under Diack and, after Coe’s election in 2015, was promoted to director of the president’s office. The IAAF ethics panel accepted that Davies did not act corruptly and was not part of a coverup of Russian doping cases but did criticize him for deceiving the probe.
Davies “only admitted to his lie” about the payments after being forced to hand over bank statements, the IAAF said.
Davies told ethics investigators 25,000 euros were provided by Diack as “extra funds which should be used at my discretion to improve the media mood” before and during world championships in Moscow. Davies said he only spent a “fraction” of the cash because there was no major crisis at the event and kept the balance. Another envelope of 5,000 euros was described as a bonus from Diack to “recognize my attitude and good work.”
“We were accustomed to receiving cash at the IAAF … I did not believe that there could be any sinister motives behind these payments,” Davies told investigators.
The ethics board said Davies can still seek work “elsewhere in the sport” and be involved in IAAF events in “any new capacity.”
Davies’ wife, Jane Boulter-Davies, who also worked at the IAAF, admitted to misleading the IAAF ethics board over the payment received by her husband.
Boulter-Davies was provisionally suspended from the IAAF in 2016 and the six-month ban imposed on Tuesday was back-dated so she is free to resume her work in the competitions department.
The IAAF said Boulter-Davies will be back at work on Wednesday along with Pierre-Yves Garnier, a senior medical and scientific manager, who failed to fully co-operate with the investigation into his payment of 10,000 euros. Garnier was given a back-dated three-month ban after the IAAF ethics board found that his conduct was not corrupt.
The end of the Diack presidency in 2015 did not end the IAAF’s turmoil, with Coe facing fresh scrutiny on Tuesday over extent of his knowledge of the doping scandal while he was vice-president of the governing body.
Coe told a British parliamentary committee in December 2015 that he was not aware of specific allegations of corruption in relation to allegations of a Russian doping coverup that broke in December 2014.
However, an email provided to the committee by Coe and published on Tuesday refers to him telling Michael Beloff, chairman of the IAAF ethics commission, in August 2014 that he had “been made aware of the allegations” after receiving copied documentation.
In a letter to the chairman of the parliamentary committee, also published Tuesday, Coe said there was “no discrepancy” in his accounts and that there are “no grounds for suggesting that I misled the committee in any way in December 2015.”
Coe was asked this month to appear for a second time before legislators after they heard evidence from Dave Bedford, the former race director of the London Marathon, who said he called and emailed Coe in August 2014 to warn him about the scandal.
Coe says in the letter published Tuesday that “I believe the committee now has all of the information it needs from me to prepare its report.”
AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas contributed to this report.