Kuwait Debates What To Do If Corruption Claims Linked To FINA Man Stand – Or Not

Husain Al Musallam

Pressure is mounting in Kuwait for FINA‘s ‘first vice-president’ Husain Al Musallam and his boss at the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah to face serious consequences if the allegations of corruption contained in U.S. Justice Department indictments against them are proven.

As the Kuwaiti Parliament continued to debate the issue, opposition MP Riyadh Al-Adasani asked what legal measures might be taken by the Government against the two sports politicians if the allegations made against them are proven. He also asked what measures were open to the government to take on those making the allegations if they proved to be false.

The Kuwait Times, reporting Al-Adasani’s intervention, described Sheikh Ahmad and Al Musallam as people “who might have squandered public funds, distorted the country’s image and misused their posts to achieve personal benefits at the expense of public interests”.

The allegations stems from evidence given to FIFA corruption invetigators by head of Guam Football Federation Richard Lai, who confessed to American interrogators that he received graft worth $850,000 between 2009 and 2014, via a senior member of Kuwait Football Association, the OCA also cited in the legal documents. The indictments refer to “co-conspirator” No 2, said to be the Sheikh, and No3, said to be Al Musallam. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.

Adasani has now asked in parliament about the measures taken by the Kuwaiti government and “if it has succeeded in establishing whether the news is authentic”. The MP also asked what action the government would take if the allegations were proven to be false: what action, he wanted to know, would be taken against “those who distort the image of the country”.

Kuwait is currently suspended by the IOC, FINA and other international federations because of alleged political intererence in the realm of sport. Judgement in the U.S. action, however, transcends the world of sport, the outcome of legal action in the United States set to shape the workd of other investigators, including ethics panels at sports federations.

The Kuwaiti Parliament has debated the issue over three days, with some calling for the country’s anti-corruption body to launch its own investigation.

Sheikh Ahmad is a member of the ruling royal family. He is a former government minister, head of OPEC and national security advisor. For a number of years he has been embroiled in an internal family dispute linked to his political ambitions, all of which has contributed to the IOC, FIFA, FINA and others suspending Kuwait.

In swimming, the ban has not, however, stopped Al Musallam and other officials from Kuwait from contunuing to go about business as usual – and Al Musallam is up for re-election in FINA once more in Budapest this July.

A legal expert told ABC in Australia yesterday: ” … the IOC, at Sheikh Ahmad’s behest, accused the Kuwaitis when rolling out a new sports law of essentially politically interfering in sports affairs. That new law was in many ways designed to oust Sheikh Ahmad and his brother from any positions within Kuwaiti sports. It is a power struggle within the Kuwaiti royal family being fought out in national and international sports.”

Meanwhile, Al Musallam is at the centre of other allegations in the case of Paolo Barelli Vs FINA before the Court of Arbiration for Sport.

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Pressure is mounting in Kuwait for FINA’s ‘first vice-president’ Husain Al Musallam and his boss at the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah to face serious consequences if the allegations of corruption contained in U.S. Justice Department indictments against them are proven.

As the Kuwaiti Parliament continued to debate the issue, opposition MP Riyadh Al-Adasani asked what legal measures might be taken by the Government against the two sports politicians if the allegations made against them are proven. He also asked what measures were open to the government to take on those making the allegations if they proved to be false.

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