Swimming body clears Kuwaiti official for re-election

BY AP • July 19, 2017

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Though linked to a bribery case, Kuwaiti official Husain al-Musallam has been cleared to be re-elected unopposed Saturday as the senior vice president of swimming's governing body.

''There was no case to answer based on the information that is available to FINA at this time,'' the governing body of world swimming said Wednesday in a statement.

FINA said in May it would ''take all measures deemed necessary'' after al-Musallam was identified in United States federal documents as ''co-conspirator (hash)3'' in a FIFA bribery case.

In Brooklyn federal court, FIFA audit committee member Richard Lai of Guam said he was paid six-figure bribes through the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to advance the soccer interests of Kuwaiti officials.

Al-Musallam has been director general since 2005 of Kuwait-based OCA, which is led by Olympic powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah. The sheikh, who also leads the global group of national Olympic committees, was identified as ''co-conspirator (hash)2'' in court documents and resigned from the FIFA Council.

"Moreover there was no breach of any FINA regulations,'' said the Switzerland-based organization, which will hold its election congress on Saturday on the sidelines of the world championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Al-Musallam has also been allowed to go for re-election to his No. 2 position on the FINA Bureau, the body's ruling committee, despite the Kuwaiti swimming federation being suspended since October 2015. That was because of government interference in the independent running of sports bodies.

Further claims against al-Musallam about commissions allegedly sought from OCA sponsorship deals in 2012 were made Wednesday by British daily The Times and German magazine Spiegel.

Sheikh Ahmad and al-Musallam have continued as members of the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Solidarity Commission since the Brooklyn court hearing in April. The sheikh chairs the panel which has about $500 million to distribute to Olympic and sports bodies ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The IOC has previously said its ethics commission is in contact with FINA, FIFA and the OCA.

''We have taken note of the allegations and have passed them to the IOC's Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer,'' the IOC said Wednesday about the Times and Speigel reports.

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