News 13th September 2021

Sheikh Amhad steps aside as OCA President after forgery conviction

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah has stepped aside as President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) after being convicted of forgery in a Swiss criminal court. He plans to appeal against the ruling, which involves a 30 month jail sentence, half of it suspended. 

“I am honoured to be the Acting President of an organisation which we have all so lovingly built and nurtured, but I would like to assure you that this is an interim set-up until Sheikh Ahmad clears his name”, said Raja Randhir Singh, who temporarily replaced Sheikh Ahmad as OCA President, in a statement. “I would like to place on record my appreciation and admiration for Sheikh Ahmad in successfully leading this organisation for 30 years; Sheikh Ahmad has been responsible for the growth of the OCA and the Asian Games as one of the biggest multi-sports events in the world. We, as the OCA Executive Board, should lend all our moral support to him during this critical period and hope and pray that he clears his name sooner rather than later.”

On 8 November 2018, the Public Prosecutor of Geneva charged Sheikh Ahmad and four others – understood to be three Geneva-based lawyers and a Kuwaiti aide – with forgery. Sheikh Ahmad voluntarily suspended himself as a Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and as President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in November 2018. 

A 22 November 2018 Decision from the IOC Ethics Commission acknowledged Sheikh Ahmad’s wish to step aside from his IOC roles, outlined in an 18 November 2018 Letter. However, this prompted it to launch an investigation. Both the Decision and the Letter have since been deleted.

By decision dated 8 November 2018, the Public Prosecutor of Geneva submitted to a criminal court an accusation against five persons, including the Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah, IOC Member, for forgery’, read the 22 November 2018 IOC Decision. ‘The IOC Ethics Commission finds that the facts involved, punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison, are very serious’.

Prosecutors found that Sheikh Ahmad and the four other defendants created fake videos in order to implicate Kuwaiti government officials, in a 2014 court case.  It is understood that the videos involve allegations of corruption involving former Kuwaiti Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al Sabah and his parliamentary speaker, Jassem al-Karafi. In 2015, Sheikh Ahmad was sanctioned with a suspended six month jail sentence for disobeying a prosecutor’s gag on discussing the videos.

At the time, an investigation into the recordings by Kuwaiti security agencies found the videos to be unauthentic. However, criminal prosecutors in Geneva found that Sheikh Ahmad sold the rights to the videos to Trekell, a company purportedly located in Delaware, which investigators found to be a shell. Following the sale, Trekell filed a lawsuit against Sheikh Ahmad, claiming that the videos were fake.

Geneva prosecutors found that the purpose of this was to create a fictional Geneva arbitration dispute between Sheikh Ahmad and Trekell, in order to legitimise the fake videos as genuine. Prosecutors found that one of the three Geneva-based lawyers took on the role of Arbitrator and signed a ruling stating that the videos were genuine, receiving a CHF10,000 (€9,200) payment in return. 

Sheikh Ahmad remains the Founder and President of the Asian Handball Federation (AHF).

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