Apartments in Dakar: the occult transactions of a French lawyer

Habib Cissé, co-accused of Lamine Diack in a vast case of corruption in athletics, hid real estate transactions in Senegal from the judges.

The question sounds like a butterfly. Did bundles of banknotes in Moscow help finance apartments in Dakar? Completed on June 18 in Paris, the trial of Lamine Diack, former president of the International Athletics Federation (IAAF), tried for corruption, breach of trust and money laundering, left some questions unanswered, before the judgment set for September 16 . Including this one, however central: where has the money gone which justice suspects that it was paid to several defendants against the putting under the carpet of cheating cases in Russian athletics?

Only Gabriel Dollé, the former boss of anti-doping, said he had received 190,000 euros in cash, in particular from Lamine Diack and his son Papa Massata, while ensuring that most of these tickets were linked to his departure to the retirement. For the rest, the absence from the hearing of the son Diack, former marketing consultant of the IAAF, and the lapses of memory of his father at the helm did not help to clarify the gray areas of this vast international corruption case, which erupted in 2015.

In this huge puzzle, Le Monde reveals several previously missing pieces. They concern one of Lamine Diack’s co-defendants, Habib Cissé. According to our information, this French lawyer, former legal adviser to the president of the IAAF, paid 200,000 euros in cash, between July 2012 and February 2013, to Focus Immobilier, a Senegalese developer, with a view to acquiring an apartment. upscale in Dakar. Mr. Cissé also wanted to offer housing to his mother, still in the Senegalese capital, in 2015. He never informed the courts of these real estate transactions, neither during the four years of investigation nor during the trial.

Mr. Cissé, a 48-year-old lawyer, born in Dakar, specialized in sport and international arbitration in the early 2000s. Tried in June for “corruption”, he is suspected of having participated in the slowing of sanctions against doped Russians – the prosecution requested three years in prison, including eighteen months closed, against him, as well as 100,000 euros. fine and prohibition to practice. He simply admitted having personally delivered letters concerning athletes suspected of cheating to Valentin Balakhnichev, then president of the Russian Athletics Federation.

Investigators saw a conflict of interest in the fact that the lawyer received around 150,000 euros, including 20,000 in cash, from the Russians, in addition to his monthly fee of around 13,000 euros as legal counsel. from President Diack. But Habib Cisse has always explained that this money paid by Moscow corresponded to contracts signed to improve the fight against doping in Russia. Amounts duly declared, he insisted during the investigation, supporting contracts. Unlike Lamine Diack and his son, Mr. Cissé was not prosecuted for money laundering.