PARIS (Reuters) – Disgraced former IAAF chief Lamine Diack will be tried in France on charges of corruption and money laundering, a judicial source said, after a four-year investigation into doping cover-ups, extortion and bribe-taking in world athletics.The judges’ decision comes a month after financial prosecutors formally accused Diack and his son Papa Massata of a host of illicit practices over a period of years with the active involvement of international athletes and their federations.Money laundering alone carries a jail term of up to 10 years.Diack, who led the IAAF from 1999-2015 and was one of the most influential men in athletics, and his son have consistently denied wrongdoing.Prosecutors began their investigation in 2015, shortly after the IAAF’s ethics commission and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) uncovered evidence a Russian marathon runner paid 600,000 euros ($683,220) to cover up a positive drug test, allowing her to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games.The prosecutors in their indictment highlighted what they describe as the “extremely complacent” attitude of the IAAF towards the Russian athletics federation. They set out the relations between a number of IAAF and national federation officials allegedly involved in corrupt practices.According to the prosecutors, Diack and his son, who oversees a sports consulting business called Black Tidings, solicited payments from athletes, either directly or indirectly, totalling 3.45 million euros (3.09 million pounds) in exchange for covering up positive doping tests and allowing athletes to go on competing.
The announcement took all of 30 seconds to say, but the ramifications are still being felt.Ever since senior quarterback Matt Barkley declared his intention to return to school for his senior season on national television, USC has been lauded as the preseason favorite to win the national championship.When the “experts” talk of such predictions, the discussion usually centers on Barkley and Co. on the offensive end. One of Barkley’s main targets, sophomore receiver Marqise Lee, made some sensational plays in practice on Thursday.“[Lee] was the MVP of today,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “Obviously he’s a great player and he has the potential to be a real star player.”The Trojans do not just feature an experienced offense, however. With eight starters returning from last year’s squad that was third in the conference in points allowed, the Trojan defense is not to be taken lightly.“As a defense, we just come out and do what we’re supposed to do,” junior cornerback Nickell Robey said. “All we’re worried about is winning on third downs and getting off the field.”Robey, a starter since his freshman season, has taken on more of a leadership role this year and has made it a point of emphasis to help the younger players adjust.“We have a lot of young guys, so we’re trying to get them acclimated to the system. When we can do that, we’re going to be better as a defense.”On Thursday, the defense got the better of the high profile offense, forcing turnovers and making it difficult for the offense to move the ball.“The defense kind of dominated today for the most part,” Kiffin said. “It’s always hard to evaluate the offensive line and the run game when you have no pads on.”With the loss of three starters on the defensive line from last year’s unit, defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is relying on newcomers to step up.“We have to show up inside. That’s where it all starts,” Orgeron said. “If you’re weak inside, you’re not going to have the type of team you want.”Orgeron is hoping for solid play from returning seniors Devon Kennard and Wes Horton.“Devon and Wes are coming. Those are guys I expect to play well,” said Orgeron. “Last year, Devon had some missed sacks, some missed plays. But he’ll get them this year.”If Thursday’s practice was any indication, the defense will turn some heads this season.
Who says a hotel heiress known mostly for her ability to smile can’t design? Apparently, no one. On Wednesday, Paris Hilton launched her new juniors clothing line. Cappuccino-armed buyers and junior-wear enthusiasts gathered in the downtown L.A. Fashion District’s California Market Center to get a look at Hilton and her sportswear line, which, (un)surprisingly, is not very sporty. Apparently, that’s a minor detail in the world of Paris, who opened the show with a decidedly rehearsed welcome/thank you to the Dollhouse clothing brand — creators of her line — for allowing her to put her stamp of approval (i.e. her logo) on whatever they ultimately came up with — more or less. What was paraded on the runway turned out to be pretty similar to the current trends of the tween/teen generation. It stayed mostly in the range of bright pinks and greens, with low-cut baby-doll dresses paired with interminable black leggings, and large sequin-adorned tops. Hilton closed the show with a stroll down the runway, wearing metallic white jeans and a gold sequined tank, presumably from her own line. Camera flashes assailed the space around Hilton’s grinning face — a face that said, “Get a good look, because you’ll probably never see me wearing low-end denim again … ever.” Sentiments around the refreshments table? One middle-age buyer described the line as “horrible.” Nevertheless, teen girls around the globe are probably placing early orders for their Paris-approved cotton-blend frocks, like, yesterday. Hilton’s sportswear — for those who care — will be available in department stores this fall.