Sergey Bubka: Athletics Integrity Unit looking into payment to ex-IAAF treasurer
A payment made by the senior vice-president of athletics’ world governing body to its banned former treasurer is under investigation.
Sergey Bubka made a $45,000 (£33,400) payment to Valentin Balakhnichev, according to French newspaper Le Monde.
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) is to look at the case, though ex-pole vaulter Bubka denies any wrongdoing.
“The unit will seek further information in relation to this matter,” said AIU head Ben Clothier.
Le Monde reports the payment was made a day after an almost identical amount was sent from Balakhnichev’s company account to Papa Massata Diack, who is wanted by French prosecutors investigating allegations of corruption at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).
There is no evidence to suggest Bubka, a former world record holder, was aware of how his payment was used or who it may have benefited.
Balakhnichev, a former president of the Russian athletics federation and IAAF treasurer, had a life ban over an alleged doping cover-up upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in August.
Diack, son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack, is the subject of an Interpol ‘Red Notice’ after being accused of blackmailing athletes who failed drug tests, but will not be extradited from Senegal.
Bubka’s lawyer said: “My client has no knowledge of, or involvement in, any alleged business dealings between Mr Balakhnichev and other parties, including Mr Diack. Similarly my client has no financial relations with Mr Diack.”
A spokesman for the Ukrainian said the money was for “consultancy services” performed by Balakhnichev “solely in connection with and to expand the reach of the annual Pole Vault Stars tournament which Mr Bubka used to organise each year in the Ukraine until 2014”.
The independent AIU came into operation in April, replacing the IAAF’s former anti-doping department, and handles aspects relating to misconduct within the sport.