(ATR) While embattled International Aquatics Federation vice presidential candidate Husain Al Musallam considers seeking legal action against two European newspapers, another FINA Bureau candidate could turn the tables and sue Al Musallam.
The release of an audio tape by Germany's Der Spiegel and the Times of London seem to contain Al Musallam discussing commission payments for Olympic Council of Asia sponsorships with a Hong Kong-based firm. The reports say Al Musallam, who is director general of the OCA, appears to negotiate payments directly to himself as well as the marketing firm.
Around the Rings understands that Al Musallam is considering legal actions against the two newspapers for misrepresenting the situation.
Al Musallam also reportedly accused FINA Bureau candidate and Iran Swimming Federation president Mohsen Rezvani of stealing the audio tape from OCA offices in Kuwait and using it as a means to undermine Al Musallam’s FINA vice presidential candidacy. Now, Rezvani is seeking to clear his name.
In a letter sent to ATR, Rezvani says he is "deeply saddened to have been brought in to the recent controversy".
"I would like to declare that all the allegations made in my regard and of my Federation made by Mr. Husain Al Musallam… are totally unfounded and completely false," Rezvani writes. "It appears that such allegations are intended to distract people's attention from the real matters at hand."
Rezvani suggests that Iranian officials could likely seek legal action against Al Musallam for the "false accusations".
The audio file that Al Musallam claims is an attempt to derail his candidacy is linked to an ongoing American investigation of the FIFA corruption scandal. Earlier this year, Guam football official Richard Lai pleaded guilty to receiving nearly $1 million in bribes from co-conspirators in the OCA and Asian Football Confederation.
Media reports have named those co-conspirators as Al Musallam and OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. Both men deny the claims and neither has been charged with any wrongdoing.
The OCA said in a statement that it did not doubt the recording’s authenticity, but added "all money for sponsorship deals went directly to the OCA."
Al Musallam is running unopposed to retain his vice presidency and FINA Bureau position in the July 22 election in Budapest. As Rezvani is also seeking a FINA Bureau position, he believes Al Musallam is attempting to sabotage his campaign.
"Finally, I believe the spreading of these false allegations started from the moment of my candidacy for the FINA Bureau which Mr. Al Musallam was immediately against for no valid reason whatsoever."
FINA says it is monitoring the situation closely but adds that no FINA regulations were breached. The elections at the July 22 FINA Congress also include the selection of FINA’s next president. Incumbent Julio Maglione is running against Italian Swimming Federation president Paolo Barelli.
Written by Kevin Nutley
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