Sebastian Coe. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/SHAUN BOTTERILL
Sebastian Coe. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/SHAUN BOTTERILL

London — Allegations that world athletics chief Sebastian Coe misled British MPs intensified on Tuesday after new e-mails appeared to show he was "made aware" of corruption claims about the Russian doping scandal months before they became public.

Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), told a House of Commons committee in December 2015, he was "not aware" of specific allegations of corruption in Russian athletics until a German documentary in December 2014.

However, an e-mail from Coe, a two-time Olympic champion, to the IAAF’s ethics commission in August 2014, published on Tuesday by the culture, media and sport committee, stated: "I have now been made aware of the allegations".

Coe, a member of Britain’s unelected House of Lords, told Parliament in 2015: "I was certainly not aware of the specific allegations that had been made around the corruption of anti-doping processes in Russia."

MPs had wanted Coe to reappear before the committee following evidence from former athlete David Bedford that appeared to contradict that of the IAAF president.

Coe, the Olympic 1,500m champion at the 1980 and 1984 Games in Moscow and Los Angeles, has yet to return to the committee but has agreed to two requests to make public correspondence he had with Michael Beloff, chairman of the IAAF ethics commission.

"Whatever excuse he gives, it is clear that Lord Coe decided not to share with the committee information that was relevant to our inquiry on doping in sport," House of Commons culture, media and sport committee chairman Damian Collins told the BBC on Tuesday.

"The committee asked him about his knowledge of doping in Russian athletics and of corruption within the sport. In his answers, he gave the impression that he was unaware of specific allegations.

"Thanks to evidence that was presented by the BBC Panorama programme last year [2016] and by David Bedford to the committee this January, we can see that he was aware, at least in general terms, of the allegations that had been brought forward by the Russian athlete Liliya Shobukhova," Collins said.

Liliya Shobukhova. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/TASOS KATOPODIS
Liliya Shobukhova. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/TASOS KATOPODIS

Bedford, a former 10,000m world record holder, told the committee he had sent Coe — when he was vice-president of the IAAF — an e-mail with an attachment in August 2014 that contained an explosive allegation. Andrei Baranov, the agent of Russian marathon runner Shobukhova, claimed she had been blackmailed by Russian and IAAF officials including Papa Massata Diack, son of the then IAAF president Lamine Diack, to the tune of €450,000 over a failed dope test.

Coe said he had not opened the attachment and sent it on instead to the IAAF ethics commission and that the first he knew of the allegations was in a German documentary in December 2014.

Russia remains suspended by the IAAF after it was kicked out in November 2015 over allegations of "state-sponsored doping" in a move that saw athletes banned from international competition and the track and field team barred from 2016’s Rio Olympic Games.

AFP

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