A scandal breaks out at IOC after discovering Qatari spy cell disguised as NGO

A scandal breaks out at IOC after discovering Qatari spy cell disguised as NGO

Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah is set to announce he is stepping down as head of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) after International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach personally asked him not to stand for re-election .

insidethegames said that Bach personally made the request to Sheikh Ahmad, who had been set to be re-elected unopposed as President of the umbrella body during the General Assembly here on Wednesday and Thursday (November 28 and 29).

A report in French investigative publication Mediapart and German magazine Der Spiegel, meanwhile, has claimed Sheikh Ahmad was the victim of a covert campaign allegedly conducted by the Qatar-based International NGO Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) to increase the country’s standing within the Olympic Movement at his expense.

Mediapart said in just a few years the International Centre for Sport Security, has made a name for itself in the global fight against corruption in sport. But Football Leaks reveals a hidden side to this organization which is funded by the Qatari state and which works with the United Nations, the Council of Europe and Sorbonne University in Paris.

In April 2015 former police officers working for the ICSS went to Lausanne to tail one of the key figures in world sport, the Kuwaiti sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.

Mediapart reported that the ICSS, which claims to fight corruption in sport, secretly spied on Sheikh Ahmad and one of his key allies as part of a programme entitled “Operation Hawk”.

The report said two ICSS investigators stole information from laptops belonging to Sheikh Ahmad during the alleged scheme, aimed at installing Qatari officials in sporting positions belonging to the powerful Kuwaiti.

insidethegames added that they broke into the room of one of Sheikh Ahmad’s confidantes in Lausanne and gathered “thousands of e-mails and documents”.

The information was supposedly in documents obtained by the Football Leaks groups and shared with a series of investigative outlets.

Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, has been an IOC member since 2002.

Sheikh Ahmad also denied wrongdoing last year when he was identified in a United States Department of Justice document in April in a case involving Guam’s Richard Lai.

Lai pleaded guilty to charges of receiving nearly $1 million (£773,000/€915,000) in bribes connected to FIFA.
Sheikh Ahmad stepped down from his footballing roles, including as a member of FIFA’s ruling Council, as a result.

The latest allegations against Sheikh Ahmad are set to dominate the agenda this week, culminating in a two-day IOC Executive Board meeting on Friday (November 30) and Saturday (December 1).

Months after it was established the International Centre for Sport Security faced questions about the reputed corruption of its main funder, Qatar.

Qatar is potentially a part of that scandal and ICSS’s critics contend that’s why the anti-corruption organization — based in Qatar and largely funded by it — has a perception problem.

“The funding issue sets up ICSS for an obvious conflict of interest,” international sports law attorney David Larkin has told USA TODAY Sports. “It is no secret at all that Qatar is using sport to sell the world an image of itself. The question about ICSS is its independence. They have a long way to go to prove they are independent of the Qatar government.”

USA TODAY Sports asked Hershman after the news conference about the dissonance between an anti-corruption organization largely funded by a reputedly corrupt government.

“Personally, I absolutely believe that they have to make strides on the human rights front,” he said. “Why does Qatar want to host the World Cup? I don’t think it is for economic reasons: They don’t need greater investment coming into the country. It’s for reputational reasons. They want to show the world they are a modern country and a player in the world. But unless they fix some of these problems at home, whether it’s human rights or financial transparency, they’re not going to achieve their goals.”

The scandal that targeted the International Olympic Committee is the second of its kind in few months.

The controversial Qatar World Cup bid team broke Fifa’s rules by running a secret “black operations” campaign to sabotage rivals competing to host the tournament, according to documents leaked to The Sunday Times.

Emails from a whistleblower show how the bid paid a public relations firm and former CIA agents to pump out fake propaganda about its main rivals, the United States and Australia, during its successful campaign to host the next World Cup.

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