International review Investigation

Swimming hit by corruption charges

This material belongs to: RFI.

Swimming’s governing body Fina has been hit by a commissions scandal days before its presidential election and the start of the swimming world championships.

Husain Al Musallam, who is standing unopposed as Fina’s first vice-president, has been caught up in a controversy for appearing to demand a 10 percent cut of potential sponsorship deals.

The alleged request has surfaced in a tape recording obtained by the Times of London and Germany’s Spiegel Online.

The 57-year-old Kuwaiti is general director of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and in this capacity he appears to be heard asking a business partner for “commissions” on deals worth “40 to 50 million” dollars.

The exchange is said to be between a prospective Chinese marketing agent and Musallam, who allegedly suggested that 10 percent of any sponsorship deals arranged for the OCA should be separately channeled to him.

Fina has not commented on the scandal that comes ahead of the election of its president in Budapest on Saturday and Sunday’s start of the world championships.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) told the Times and Der Spiegel that its chief ethics investigator is currently looking into the allegations.

It is not the first time that Musallam has been involved in controversy this year.

In April the Times revealed that he was effectively identified in a US Department of Justice indictment as a co-conspirator who allegedly paid bribes to a football official.

Musallam is the right-hand man of Olympic powerbroker and OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, who in April resigned from his Fifa post after being identified as a co-conspirator, along with Musallam, in the US indictment.

The recording obtained by the Times has emerged from the FBI investigation into Musallam and Sheikh Ahmad.