Legal experts denounce the Qatari ruling against the president of the Kuwait Football Association, Abdullah Al-Shaheen

12 April, 12:37

* The deliberate concealment of the exculpatory document raises the question of whether the trial was fair?

* Why was (Sh. Mohammed) Bin Suhaim absent during the investigations, and was the trial politically-influenced?

* Hidden hands of a former Kuwaiti sports official and a prominent Qatari sheikh have steered the case against Al-Shaheen

* There is a suspicion of blackmail in the case with the aim of removing Al-Shaheen from the presidency of the Kuwait Football Association

Dasman News – By Editor-in-Chief, Faisal Al-Sawagh

Following a sensational legal case that was covered in the Kuwaiti and Gulf media over the past few weeks, a number of legal experts launched an opposition campaign to denounce the ruling issued by the Qatari courts on February 26, 2024, which was described as “unfair” and “politically motivated” against Abdullah Al-Shaheen, the president of the Kuwait Football Association, who was sentenced to three years in prison for a personal business dispute that some considered “malicious,” in which the opponent was a member of the ruling family in Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Suhaim Al Thani, who had a financial partnership and close personal relationship with AlShaheen, until 2018.

Al-Shaheen and Bin Suhaim’s partnership!

It was revealed that Abdullah Al-Shaheen, who heads the Kuwait Football Association since May 2022, as well as having a the membership in the Asian Football Confederation, is an businessman who held several positions in Kuwait Industrial Bank and other business entities from 1994 to 2006, before establishing his private business, and entered into several partnerships, including his partnership with Sheikh Mohammed bin Suhaim, which extended for more than 20 years, especially in State Holding Group and many business entities and companies, whether in Egypt, Kuwait or Qatar. Like many successful businessman, it was not unusual that Al-Shaheen was be a target of malicious attempts and legal cases aimed at obstructing his business interests. But what Al-Shaheen did not expect was to be backstabbed by his Qatari partner with a case described by Al-Shaheen’s defense team as malicious and fictitious, based on fabricating a legal case in order to blackmail him and others, under the pretext of “fraud and submission of incorrect financial statements” based on a report issued by an privately-hired audit and accounting firm, while the court did not take into consideration the audit report prepared by the multinational audit firm KPMG (one of the Big Four accounting firms in the world).

Statute of limitations and a fair trial!

What is surprising is what was revealed by the Kuwaiti lawyer Mutlaq Al-Jadai that the case was dismissed under the statute of limitations in the criminal court in the session held on May 31, 2023, especially since the events date back to the period from 2011 to 2016. Al-Jadai expressed his disapproval of bringing the case again and ignoring the statute of limitations, resulting in the Qatari court issuing a prison sentence against Abdullah Al-Shaheen and others for three years on February 26, 2024. Al-Jadai questioned why the court did not consider some of the key documents, disclaimers and minutes of general assemblies which establish that Al-Shaheen and others received final clearance and settlement.

The Kuwaiti lawyer continued his talk about the case that continues to spark widespread controversy. He stated that the verdict was confirmed in the court of appeals in only 20 seconds, in addition, the head of the respective legal court was changed so abruptly! This raises many questions and concerns and prompts some to demand that the president of the Kuwait Football Association should receive a fair trial.

Where is Bin Suhaim?

The Kuwaiti lawyer Mutlaq Al-Jadaei questioned why the complainant, Sheikh Mohammed bin Suhaim, did not attend the investigations, and why his statements were not taken, as was the case with Abdullah Al-Shaheen, who personally came to Doha several times to attend the legal investigations and court sessions.

The lawyer explained that the final clearance and settlement issued by Muhammad bin Suhaim from 2017 is sufficient to confirm Al-Shaheen’s innocence, pointing out that the Sheikh has disappeared since 2020, and therefore it was natural to investigate the reasons for his absence, especially since he is the direct complainant in the case and all complaints bear his name and signature.

Is the verdict politically-motivated?

There has been much talk about the political nature of the verdict, given that the complainant is a member of Qatar’s ruling family, Sheikh Mohammed bin Suhaim, who is related by blood to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim, which naturally put the Qatari judiciary to a challenging test. There is another reason to suspect political influence. The lawyer Mutlaq al-Jadaei hinted at a hidden role played by a prominent Qatari sheikh to steered the case bin Suhaim’s favor.

Reckoning old matters and hidden hands

Kuwaiti lawyer, Hussein Al-Asfour, believes that what the president of the Kuwait Football Association, Abdullah Al-Shaheen, is subjected to, amounts to a “settling of accounts” by Kuwaiti influential figures seeking to regain the leadership of the Football Association.

Al-Asfour revealed that those aspiring to the gain the presidency of the Kuwait Football Association had hidden hands to initiate the case around the same time of Al-Shaheen’s announcement of his desire to run for the presidency of the Association which ultimately resulted in his victory in the elections held in May 2022.

There were several social media accounts that explicitly indicated that a former Kuwaiti sports official, who was convicted in several cases and eventually lost his senior sports positions, played a malicious role in initiating the case against Al-Shaheen’s by exploiting his influence and close relations with prominent Qatari officials with the aim of blackmailing the president of the Kuwait Football Association Abdullah Al-Shaheen and forcing him to step down and give up his position, as well as his AFC position as a member of the executive committee of the continental federation.

The Qatari verdict is reliable!

Dr. Sami Al-Duraee, a legal expert, said that criminal judgments issued by a foreign country cannot be enforced in Kuwait because it affects sovereignty. He added that Kuwait is obliged to open an investigation provided that the Qatari side sends the documentation of all the charges and judgments issued by the Qatari courts as well as proofs and evidences. If the Qatari side does not send any documentation to the Kuwaiti side it would be as if nothing has happened.

He added that the person in question would then be able to exercise all his rights and hold any positions as long as a final judgment has not been issued against him inside Kuwait. Any talk about denying citizens convicted of foreign judgments from holding positions inside Kuwait is unjustifiable logic that cannot be accepted.