Singapore could be linked to athletics corruption probe, says Interpol

Global police agency specifically mentions Singapore in its press release announcing worldwide investigation following WADA report into IAAF doping scandal

The doping and corruption scandal that has engulfed world athletics took on an Asian angle this week as Singapore was named in both an Interpol press release and the World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission’s report as being allegedly linked to the conspiracy.

PRWeek Asia has learned that Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) has already started an investigation. 

In a press release during the unveiling of the WADA commission’s report on Monday, which outlined serious doping and corruption problems in world athletics and the International Association of Athletics Federations, Interpol said it has launched a global investigation led by France into the matter.

The statement explained Interpol’s plans and then, strikingly, specifically named Singapore as possibly being involved in the case.

While explaining that the matter is a worldwide probe, Interpol only mentioned Singapore directly.

"In the framework of Operation Augeas launched by Interpol, the world police body is now working with member countries potentially linked to the inquiry, including Singapore, to seek assistance in coordinating a global investigative network and support the criminal investigation on the basis of the intelligence gathered by the independent commission."

The WADA commission's report alleges that a company registered in Singapore may have handled illicit funds related to the doping and corruption conspiracy.

Referring to a documentary made by German broadcaster ARD, which was the basis for the commission’s investigation, the WADA report states:

"The documentary alleged that the IAAF Treasurer, Valentin Balakhnichev (at the time also the president of ARAF) [All-Russian Athletics Federation] was personally responsible for the extortion and transfer of funds from a Russian athlete to a bank account in Singapore and that he colluded with the ARAF’s head coach [Alexey] Melnikov to do so."

A spokesperson from Singapore's CPIB told PRWeek Asia that the authority is looking into it. 

"The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau has started investigating and will work with the World Anti-Doping Agency and Interpol for this case. As investigation is still ongoing, we will not be able to comment further."

Tang Weng Fei, president of Singapore Athletics, told PRWeek Asia the organisation has not been in touch with either Interpol or the IAAF.

"Singapore Athletics has not been contacted by the IAAF nor any regional or international member federations with regard to the Interpol investigation and the alleged involvement of a company in Singapore," Fei said. 

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