Olympic powerbroker to go on trial in Geneva in forgery case

GENEVA (AP) — Olympic powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah will go on trial in Switzerland this month in a forgery case he has actually stated is connected to political competition within Kuwait’s royal household.

The case has actually basically eliminated among the most prominent figures in world sports from public view — the so-called “Kingmaker” of Olympic and Asian soccer elections.

Attorneys for the sheikh informed The Associated Press on Friday he will participate in the hearing noted by a criminal court in Geneva to range from Feb. 22-26.

“He is absolutely determined to obtain a full acquittal and is confident about the positive outcome of the case,” Geneva legal company RVMH stated in a declaration.

It is uncertain when the panel of 3 judges might offer a decision.

Sheikh Ahmad made his credibility as kingmaker of elections at the International Olympic Committee and other governing bodies within the Olympic household. An IOC member for almost thirty years, the previous Kuwaiti federal government minister has actually been a charming figure in sports diplomacy, typically in company fit or denims and his hallmark ponytail hairdo.

The sheikh’s impact grew with winning election in 2012 to lead the international group of nationwide Olympic bodies, referred to as ANOC. One year later on, he was a crucial advocate assisting Thomas Bach win the IOC presidency.

In November 2018, Sheikh Ahmad officially stepped aside — “temporarily self-suspended,” in the main Olympic expression — from the IOC and ANOC after being arraigned with 4 others by Geneva district attorneys.

The IOC stated Friday its principles commission “continues to monitor developments in the case and in particular the decision that may be taken by the Geneva judicial authorities.”

The sheikh has stated a political competition in the oil-rich kingdom of Kuwait caused a previous prime minister submitting a criminal grievance versus him in the Swiss city, a center for banking and worldwide arbitration cases.

A declaration from Sheikh Ahmad’s individual workplace in 2018 declared “the whole matter is based on allegations that are maliciously motivated by political factions within Kuwait since 2012.”

The criminal grievance declares that Sheikh Ahmad and attorneys acting for him later on participated in an incorrect arbitration case in Geneva, staged to attempt to show a video that distributed on social networks was genuine and linked Sheikh Nasser al-Sabah, the previous prime minister, in monetary and political misdeed.

Sheikh Ahmad’s trial attorneys, Albert Righini and Patrick Hunziker, decreased to talk about prospective political effect of the case.

“Related Kuwaiti domestic political issues, if any, are outside the scope of the court review,” they composed in an emailed declaration to the AP.

A five-day trial is set up to open at the Tribunal Correctionnel, which can enforce jail terms of 2 to ten years.

A decision versus Sheikh Ahmad might be appealed and additional bind a case that has actually moved gradually to its very first court. In more than 2 years given that the indictment, the sheikh has actually continued to lead the Olympic Council of Asia, which his household developed, and operated in sports politics.

His continuous impact was verified last month by a Court of Arbitration for Sport judgment in an appeal by a losing prospect in Asian soccer elections kept in 2019.

Although Sheikh Ahmad has actually never ever signed up with the IOC executive board, he belonged to the FIFA judgment committee as an Asia delegate from 2015-17. He withdrew as a prospect for re-election after being linked in a United States federal court of utilizing OCA cash to purchase impact in Asian soccer politics.

He rejected misdeed and, almost 4 years later on, district attorneys in Brooklyn have not openly innovative that case.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.