GENEVA, Feb 13, (AP): Olympic powerbroker Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will go on trial in Switzerland this month in a forgery case he has said is linked to political rivalry.
The case has essentially removed one of the most influential figures in world sports from public view — the so-called “Kingmaker” of Olympic and Asian soccer elections. Lawyers for the Sheikh told The Associated Press on Friday he will attend the hearing listed by a criminal court in Geneva to run 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 firm RVMH said in a statement.
It is unclear when the panel of three judges could give a verdict. Sheikh Ahmed earned his reputation as kingmaker of elections at the International Olympic Committee and other governing bodies within the Olympic family.
An IOC member for nearly 30 years, the former Kuwaiti government minister has been a charismatic figure in sports diplomacy, often in business suit or jeans and his trademark ponytail hairstyle. The Sheikh’s influence grew with winning election in 2012 to lead the global group of national Olympic bodies, known as ANOC.
One year later, he was a key campaigner helping Thomas Bach win the IOC presidency. In November 2018, Sheikh Ahmed formally stepped aside – “temporarily self-suspended,” in the official Olympic phrase – from the IOC and ANOC after being indicted with four others by Geneva prosecutors.
The Sheikh has said a political rivalry in Kuwait led to a former prime minister filing a criminal complaint against him in the Swiss city, a hub for banking and international arbitration cases.