Medal-winning Russian athletes 'paid bribes' to escape doping bans and compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Gold and silver London 2012 medal winners are among a list of eight Russian athletes who escaped doping bands are bribes were allegedly paid to the heads of world athletics in order for them to compete at the Olympic Games, according to an investigation from The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD/WDR.

Officials recommended the athletes should have received doping bans in 2011. But the investigation alleges Lamine Diack, then the head of the athletics governing body IAAF, and the former anti-doping chief Dr Gabriel Dolle received bribes totalling €1.2m (£857,000, $US1.3 million.)

The two men were placed under investigation by French prosecutors on Wednesday, alongside Diack’s legal adviser Habib Cisse.

The Sunday Times reports that it has obtained a list of eight Russian athletes who prosecutors said should have been banned by the IAAF ahead of the London Olympics.

The report does not name the athletes but mentions that gold and silver medal winners at the London 2012 Games are among them.

They escaped the bans after a deal was allegedly formed between senior figures in the Russian Athletics federation to cover up the positive doping tests. Lamine Diack received €1 million, while a further €200,000 was paid to Dr Gabriel Dolle.

The Sunday Times says it has seen the test results of all the Russian athletes and “many recorded blood scores that had less than a one-in-a-million chance of being natural.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is due to publish the findings of its year-long inquiry into the IAAF on Monday. WADA began investigating the governing body last year after a German TV documentary aired in December 2014 alleged systematic doping and cover-ups in Russian athletics. It handed on its findings to the French authorities in the summer, the BBC reports.

One investigator, Richard McLaren, told The Sunday Times the report will reveal “a whole different scale of corruption” compared to the scandal currently embroiling football governing body FIFA and that it will be “a real game-changer for sport.”

Diack, who faces charges of corruption and money laundering, has described the allegations as “surreal,” The Sunday Times reported. He stepped down from his role as the head of the IAAF in August.

New IAAF president Lord Coe said of the crisis on Saturday on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek: “These are dark days for our sport. But I’m more determined than ever to rebuild the trust in our sport. However, this is a long road to redemption.”

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