Olympic official quizzed for 5 hours in Geneva forgery trial

Aug 31, 2021, 1:35 AM | Updated: 1:37 pm

GENEVA (AP) — Olympic power broker Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah was questioned in court for more than five hours Tuesday about his part in an alleged plot against political rivals in Kuwait.

Sheikh Ahmad and four others are on trial in Geneva on charges of forgery as part of an allegedly fake legal dispute staged to verify possibly manipulated video footage that claimed to reveal two politicians plotting a coup in Kuwait.

“I signed the documents presented by my lawyer,” the sheikh said in comments translated from Arabic about the 2014 commercial law dispute that prosecutors allege was faked and relied on a shell company in Delaware.

The indictment from November 2018 forced Sheikh Ahmad out of the public eye as an influential figure in Olympic and Asian soccer politics and prompted him to step aside as an IOC member.

A former Kuwaiti government minister, the sheikh had become known as a “kingmaker” in world sports for a series of election wins since 2012 for himself and allies, including International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

The sheikh was the second of the five defendants to be questioned on day two of a trial scheduled to end Sept. 10. They face prison sentences of up to five years.

The other defendants are the sheikh’s English former lawyer in Geneva, a Kuwaiti aide and two other lawyers who worked in the upscale Swiss city.

Prosecutors allege the men took part in a fake legal dispute involving a Delaware company, Trekell Group, that they controlled.

The dispute was allegedly staged to verify possibly manipulated video footage as evidence of political and financial conspiracy. It was intended to implicate a former prime minister of Kuwait and a former speaker in its parliament.

Sheikh Ahmad denies all charges of forgery in the case that he has said was politically motivated against him. The investigation began in 2015 when a criminal complaint was filed in Geneva on behalf of Sheikh Nasser al-Sabah, Kuwait’s prime minister from 2006-11, and Jassim al-Kharafi, who has since died.

The al-Kharafi family’s lawyer, Catherine Hohl-Chirazi, repeatedly asked Sheikh Ahmad why an obscure company was chosen to analyze video footage of alleged treason instead of an international security firm.

Prosecutors allege Trekell was a shell company acquired by another defendant, aide Hamad al-Haroun, who made his chauffeur a signatory of the business.

Sheikh Ahmad said he trusted lawyers after 30 years as a president in sports and a political figure. Trekell, he said, was recommended by Matthew Parish, the Geneva-based lawyer who is being tried in his absence.

“I had full confidence in their competence,” the sheikh said, replying to Hohl-Chirazi at one point: “I won’t comment on your opinion.”

The allegedly sham 2014 arbitration ruling in Geneva was signed off by another of the Geneva-based defendants, Stoyan Baumeyer, then taken to the High Court in London to be recognized as a valid judgment.

Another High Court case was cited Tuesday by al-Haroun in a civil action he brought against Parish, Baumeyer and expert witnesses who examined the videos seven years ago.

Under questioning Tuesday, al-Haroun said a judge in London found in June that Parish and Baumeyer had not colluded and that the expert witnesses verified the videos in good faith.


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

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, drives to the basket on Atlanta Hawks center Cli...
Associated Press

Lillard scores 42 as Trail Blazers hold off Hawks 129-125

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 42 points, Anfernee Simons hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 34 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Atlanta Hawks 129-125 on Monday night. Dejounte Murray had 40 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Hawks, who played without star point guard Trae Young (ankle). […]
23 hours ago
Baylor guard Keyonte George (1) looks for the basket past Texas guard Arterio Morris (2) during the...
Associated Press

Rice, Allen lead No. 10 Texas over No. 11 Baylor 76-71

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sir’Jabari Rice scored 21 points and Timmy Allen added 18 to send No. 10 Texas to a 76-71 win over No. 11 Baylor on Monday night, ending the Bears’ six-game win streak and keeping the Longhorns in a share of first place in the Big 12. Rice made four 3-pointers in […]
23 hours ago
Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson, right, drives against Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, le...
Associated Press

Bridges scores 29, Suns pull away late, beat Raptors 114-106

PHOENIX (AP) — Deandre Ayton had to do a double-take in the final minutes as his Phoenix Suns pulled away for another win. His eyes weren’t playing tricks. That was Mikal Bridges getting big mid-range buckets during crucial possessions in the fourth quarter, not injured All-Star guard Devin Booker. Bridges had one of his best […]
23 hours ago
Winnipeg Jets' Josh Morrissey (44) celebrates after his goal against the St. Louis Blues with Saku ...
Associated Press

Morrissey, Scheifele lead Jets’ rally in 4-2 win over Blues

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Josh Morrissey and Mark Scheifele each scored twice in the third period as the Winnipeg Jets rallied for a 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues on Monday night. Saku Maenalanen and Kyle Connor each had two assists for the Jets, who snapped a three-game skid. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 24 shots. […]
23 hours ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, is fouled by Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart, right...
Associated Press

Doncic scores 53 in return, Mavericks beat Pistons 111-105

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 53 points in his return to the lineup and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 of his 12 in the fourth quarter as the Dallas Mavericks rallied to beat the Detroit Pistons 111-105 on Monday night. Four of Doncic’s five career 50-point games have come this season. He scored a career-best […]
23 hours ago
Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell (0) reacts to a foul call during the second half of a...
Associated Press

Fox, Lyles help Kings outlast Timberwolves 118-111 in OT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — De’Aaron Fox scored 32 points and Trey Lyles had eight of his 11 points in overtime for the Sacramento Kings, who outlasted the Minnesota Timberwolves 118-111 on Monday night. Malik Monk scored 19 points, Domantas Sabonis had 17 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out and Keegan Murray added 13 points and […]
23 hours ago
Olympic official quizzed for 5 hours in Geneva forgery trial