Forgery trial of Olympic powerbroker now set for August

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GENEVA (AP) — The delayed trial of Olympic powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, charged with forgery in an alleged Kuwaiti coup plot, is now set to open in August.

The correctional court in Geneva has scheduled the trial for eight days starting on Aug. 30, three weeks after the Tokyo Olympics close.

Sheikh Ahmad was in court on Feb. 22 when the case was adjourned because one of the five defendants, Hamad al-Haroun, did not have a lawyer. Al-Haroun was described by prosecutors in the indictment as the sheikh’s former trusted aide.

The sheikh stepped aside from some Olympic positions — as an IOC member, and president of the global group of national Olympic bodies known as ANOC — after the indictment was reported in November 2018.

He continues to preside over the Olympic Council of Asia, whose member Japan hosts the postponed 2020 Summer Games from July 23 to Aug. 8.

Prosecutors allege Sheikh Ahmad, al-Haroun and three Geneva-based lawyers arranged a false arbitration case in the city in 2014 to help authenticate video recordings the sheikh had given to Kuwaiti authorities. They deny wrongdoing and face maximum jail sentences of five years.

The video footage appeared to show a former prime minister of Kuwait and a former speaker of its parliament plotting to overthrow the then-Emir of the oil-rich kingdom.

The former prime minister, Sheikh Nasser al-Sabah, and the family of Jassim al-Kharafi, the former speaker who has since died, filed the criminal complaint in Geneva more than five years ago.

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