Husain Al-Musallam has hit back at allegations that he requested a 10 per cent cut of sponsorship deals ©Getty Images

Kuwait's Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) director general Husain Al-Musallam has denied allegations he requested a personal cut of sponsorship deals and claimed he is victim of an attack orchestrated by Iran before the International Swimming Federation (FINA) Congress on Saturday (July 22). 

The Kuwaiti is set to be re-elected as FINA's senior vice-president during the meeting in Budapest and is considered a contender to one day lead the world governing body.

British newspaper The Times and German magazine Der Spiegel both today reported details of an audio recording taken during a meeting between Al-Musallam and other OCA officials with a prospective Chinese marketing agent allegedly held during the 2012 Asian Beach Games in Haiyang.

Al-Musallam, the right-hand man of OCA and Association of National Olympic Committees President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, allegedly claimed that they should receive 82 per cent of the money from any deal.

The marketing company would receive an eight per cent cut while the remaining 10 per cent would go to "us".

Al-Musallam insisted his use of the word "us" referred to the OCA rather than him personally.

"I reject all the allegations," he told insidethegames when contacted in the Hungarian capital today.

"We requested that, of the commission, the OCA also receive 10 per cent in addition to the 82 per cent profit figure.

"This was designed to avoid complicated sub-contracting with other companies as we had done in the past.

"This is how business works - we wanted the best deal for the OCA.

"In the end, they declined the deal and nothing was agreed.

"I welcome people to check all our documents and find my account details."

The recording related to a meeting supposedly held during the 2012 Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China ©Getty Images
The recording related to a meeting supposedly held during the 2012 Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China ©Getty Images

Al-Musallam claimed the report is part of an attempt to undermine his bid for FINA vice-president.

"I have been aware that this article was going to be published on July 19 for more than four months," Al-Musallam told insidethegames.

"It is part of FINA campaigning.

"We record all our OCA meetings both in audio and written form - this is standard practice.

"These minutes was among a number of files stolen by a former employee in Kuwait after he was fired.

"He returned to Iran with the tape.

"I was then contacted by the President of the Iranian Swimming Federation [Mohsen Rezvani] three years ago, who told me that the tape was held by the Iranian secret police.

"He said they would return it to me if I traveled to Iran and spoke to them.

"I refused."

Rezvani is now standing for one of the two vacant positions for Asian representatives on FINA's ruling Bureau.

His two rivals - Zhou Jilong of China and Taha Al-Kishry of Oman - are each backed by the Asia Swimming Federation (AASF), led by another Kuwaiti in Sheikh Khalid Mohammed Al-Badr Al-Sabah.

Current President Julio Maglione, an ally of Al-Musallam, is facing opposition from Italy's European Swimming Federation (LEN) President Paolo Barelli.

Barelli, criticised by the Asian, Oceanian and African Continental Federations, is considered a huge underdog who is currently lacking sufficient support to challenge his Uruguayan opponent.

He is now thought to be redirecting his focus to the position of senior vice-president. 

The holder of that post would be expected to replace 81-year-old Maglione should he choose to stand down mid-term.

"The whole battle at FINA now is for the first vice-president position," Al-Musallam told insidethegames.

"He [Rezvani] has spent a lot of time in Switzerland [where LEN is based] and Italy [where Barelli is] in recent months.”

"It is bad for the sport.

"Individuals are changing their colour based on personal interest."

Paolo Barelli is standing for President and vice-president in the FINA elections ©Getty Images
Paolo Barelli is standing for President and vice-president in the FINA elections ©Getty Images

Al-Musallam has also denied wrongdoing after being seemingly identified as a co-conspirator in a United States Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation into widespread corruption at FIFA.

A DoJ indictment published in relation to the case concerning Guam's Richard Lai, who admitted receiving nearly $1 million (£773,000/€915,000) in bribes, outlines "co-conspirator number three" as a "a high-ranking official of the OCA and an official of the Kuwait Football Association (KFA)".

Al-Musallam has denied suggestions he was involved after he appeared to have been identified by the DoJ as "co-conspirator number two", is director general of the OCA and a key member of the KFA.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) told The Times that they have "taken note of the [latest] allegations and have passed them to the IOC's chief ethics and compliance officer".

Al-Musallam is also a member of the IOC Olympic Solidarity Commission, chaired by Sheikh Ahmad, responsible for distributing millions of dollars funding throughout National Olympic Committees. 

Kuwait is currently banned from FINA and the IOC due to "Government interference".

The Kuwait Swimming Federation have also written to FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu requesting that Al-Musallam be barred from standing for a position on the world governing body due to not being recognised in his home country.

FINA, however, have confirmed that he remains free to participate.

insidethegames has contacted the Iranian Swimming Federation for a response to Al-Musallam's comments.