Singaporean admits to hiding money trail linked to doping scandal

This article is more than 12 months old

He admits to lying to cover money trail linked to extortion of Russian marathon star

A Singaporean businessman has admitted that he was told to lie to hide a money trail linked to one of the biggest athletics doping cover up, involving one of Russia's biggest stars.

Tan Tong Han, owner of Black Tidings, admitted to a court here that Mr Papa Massata Diack, the son of disgraced world athletic chief Lamine and who is wanted by Interpol, told him to give a fake story if he was asked about certain transactions after news broke about a doping scandal in Russian athletics.

Liliya Shobukhova - once the second fastest female marathon runner in history - had been extorted by officials in exchange for covering up her doping violations.

Yesterday, Tan, 36, was sentenced to a week's jail for giving false information to a Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) officer who was investigating the flow of funds in and out of Black Tidings.

On March 27, 2014, about $548,000 was transferred to Black Tidings from a Senegal company known as Pamodzi Consulting, owned by Mr Diack, a former International Association of Athletics Federations (Iaaf) marketing consultant. Tan issued an invoice to Pamodzi for the money, and it gave a generic description of work done. But no work was carried out.

The court heard that after the fund transfer, Mr Diack told Tan to transfer $524,000, or about €300,000, to the bank account of Shobukhova's husband.

It was at the end of 2014 when the athletic world was rocked with revelations that senior figures in the athletic world had extorted money from Shobukhova to cover up violations in her athlete biological passport so that she could compete, including at the 2012 London Olympics.

Separately, in 2015, the CPIB started investigations.

On Nov 5 that year, when Tan was asked to explain the transfers, he claimed the incoming sum was for work Black Tidings had done for Pamodzi for the 2015 Iaaf World Championships in Beijing.

As for the outgoing payment, Tan claimed he had been tricked by a John Pierre Bonor into making the transfer. On Nov 20, he admitted that he had lied, that Black Tidings did not do any work for Pamodzi and that John Pierre Bonor was a fictitious person.

Tan will start his jail term on Feb 20. He was allowed to defer it because of the Chinese New Year holiday.