The International Olympic Committee's Ethics Commission recommended the provisional suspension of Lamine Diack as an honorary member of the IOC on Monday.
Diack, who was an IOC member from 1999 to 2013 as head of athletics world governing body IAAF and became an honorary member in 2014, is being investigated by French authorities on suspicion of corruption and money laundering.
The 82-year-old Senegalese is alleged to have received more than one million euros ($1.1 million) in bribes in 2011 to cover up positive doping tests of Russian athletes.
His son Papa Massata Diack and three others have also been charged with various alleged breaches of the IAAF's Code of Ethics.
Diack was a powerful figure within the IOC as he controlled one of the most popular Olympic sports for more 15 years with athletics also a big beneficiary, along with swimming, of the IOC's Olympic Games contributions.
The IOC suspension came minutes before a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission news conference on its report on allegations of doping among Russian athletes.
Commission chairman Dick Pound was set to address media in Geneva later on Monday to present their findings over allegations made during German broadcaster ARD's December 2014 documentary on doping in Russia.
Image: Former IAAF President Lamine Diack
Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters