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In France Diack says he asked Russia for money to fund Senegalese opposition

"I told him that to win the election, I needed about 1.5 million euros," Diack told investigators, according to Le Monde.

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Outgoing President of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Lamine Diack answers a question at a news conference in Beijing, August 20, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee play Outgoing President of International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Lamine Diack answers a question at a news conference in Beijing, August 20, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Former international athletics federation (IAAF) president Lamine Diack has told French police that he asked a Russian athletics boss for 1.5 million euros to finance political opposition in his native Senegal in 2011, the French daily Le Monde reported on Friday.

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 that 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 judge in November, when he was questioned on suspicion of covering up positive dope tests on Russian athletes. Reuters was unable to independently confirm Le Monde’s account.

According to the French paper, Diack asked the then-president of the Russian track and field federation, Valentin Balakhnichev, for the money to support Macky Sall, the main challenger to Senegal's then-president Abdoulaye Wade, in a forthcoming election.

"I told him that to win the election, I needed about 1.5 million euros," Diack told investigators, according to Le Monde.

Diack's lawyer Daouda Diop and French prosecutors were not available for comment. 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 organised 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, and has said he will take legal action to defend his name and that of Russian athletics.

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