IOC member Sheikh Ahmad al-Sabah conviction confirmed. GETTY IMAGES

Influential Olympic leader Sheikh Ahmad has had his forgery conviction upheld by the Geneva Court of Appeal, although he will not go to jail, a Swiss appeals court said in a ruling published on Monday.

Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, a member (suspended according to the official website) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the ousted president of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and former president of its Asian division, has had his conviction for forgery ratified. However, he will not be imprisoned as he was given a suspended sentence. 

A court in Geneva had found that Al-Sabah, together with three lawyers and an adviser, had produced fake videos to harm members of the Kuwaiti government, with whom he has a long-standing feud, by trying to blame them for an alleged coup attempt in the country. At first instance, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison, half of which was suspended. 

In addition to confirming the first-instance conviction of Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, a political scientist, the court also upheld the convictions of his former lawyer, a Kuwaiti assistant and a Geneva-based lawyer. However, another lawyer was acquitted on appeal by the Cantonal Court of Geneva, Switzerland..

Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah (C) leaves the Geneva court with his lawyer Albert Righini. GETTY IMAGES
Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah (C) leaves the Geneva court with his lawyer Albert Righini. GETTY IMAGES

The appeals court found that Ahmad al-Sabah had acted "with the aim of obtaining an unlawful advantage", as the new court put it, and modified the lower court's sentence by imposing a two-year suspended sentence with a three-year probation period. As he did at first instance, he has denied any wrongdoing or connection with the alleged incidents. 

Sheikh Ahmad, who was a member of the FIFA Executive Committee for two years (he resigned in 2017 after being implicated in alleged bribery offences by US federal prosecutors), can appeal the second-instance verdict to the Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne, where the IOC has its headquarters. The Geneva ruling is nearly 190 pages long and is dated 18 December, but was made public by the court last Monday, days after Sheikh Ahmad was replaced as defence minister of Kuwait. 

The the Kuwaiti Sheikh's career in sports leadership is extensive. At the IOC alone, he has served as the President of the Olympic Solidarity Commission (2012-2018); Vice-Chairman of the Olympic Channel Services S.A., Switzerland (2015-2018); and member of various commissions, including Sport for All (1992-1995), Olympic Movement (as NOCs representative, 1995-2001), "IOC 2000" (Executive Committee, 1999), Olympic Solidarity (2000-2011), International Relations (2002-2014) and Olympic Channel (2015-2018).