FINA President Husain Al-Musallam has been identified as one of two Kuwaiti senior Olympic officials targeted by the U.S. Department of Justice for his suspected involvement in a FIFA corruption scandal.
Al-Musallam, along with Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, have been targeted for suspected “racketeering and bribery related to FIFA and international soccer politics,” according to documents obtained by The Associated Press (AP).
In 2017, the U.S. embassy in Kuwait made a formal request to local authorities for assistance in securing evidence that included records of multiple bank accounts held in the Gulf state, per one of the documents obtained by the AP.
The request included a document that confirmed Sheikh Ahmad was under investigation and provided insight into the U.S. government’s probe of high-level foreign officials as part of the broad FIFA investigation that began more than 10 years ago.
Ahmad, reputed to be the “kingmaker” of IOC elections, was a key ally behind Thomas Bach’s successful run to the IOC presidency in 2013. He is an IOC member and is currently the president of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).
“I asked Kuwait to give them everything,” Sheikh Ahmad told the AP this week about the American request. “I have nothing to hide.”
Al-Musallam, who took over as FINA president in June, is a close ally of Ahmad and told the AP at the Tokyo Olympics that he had done nothing wrong and hadn’t been questioned by American authorities.
Al-Musallam has done some positive things for athletes thus far in his short stint as FINA president, but this investigation continues to hang over his head.
The AP says the Department of Justice document seen by them details payment totalling about $1 million from Kuwait to a FIFA official from Guam. The money was wired from personal accounts held by three men associated with Ahmad and Olympic organizations run by him, and the man receiving the money, Richard Lai, admitted to financial conspiracy charges back in April 2017.
Al-Musallam and Ahmad could be identified as co-conspirators in 2017 from federal courts documents in the case.
It’s been known that Al-Musallam has faced accusations relating to the FIFA bribery ring since 2017, but he has continually downplayed the allegations, and it hasn’t stopped him from ascending to the FINA presidency, which he officially took over on June 5.