GENEVA, Switzerland: Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, a member of Kuwait's ruling family and former Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries secretary-general, was convicted by a Swiss criminal court on Friday of involvement in faking a Kuwaiti coup plot to gain an advantage over political rivals.
Sheikh Ahmad, a power broker in international sports, who denies all charges, received a 30-month prison sentence, with half being suspended, which he will appeal.
The Kuwaiti ruling family has been divided over the case, which forced Sheikh Ahmed to withdraw from some public sporting roles. On Friday, he stepped down as president of the Olympic Council of Asia.
He told reporters outside the court, "I believe I am innocent" and was "100 percent" certain he would appeal. In a statement, his office later stressed he is "confident" he will clear his name, as reported by Reuters.
The case dates from 2015 in Switzerland because of the involvement of a Geneva-based lawyer representing Sheikh Ahmad, who is also one of the five defendants. All were convicted, with one suspect receiving a lengthier 36-month sentence.
A lawyer for one of the plaintiffs, Pascal Maurer, said, "We are satisfied. The court has mostly decided in our favour."
The case involved videos allegedly showing former Kuwaiti prime minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed and former speaker of parliament Jassem al-Kharafi plotting to overthrow Kuwait's then-emir.
Prosecutors accused Sheikh Ahmad of knowing the videos, which were given to Kuwaiti authorities, were faked.
Last week, Sheikh Ahmad told the court he submitted the videos to Kuwaiti authorities, as he believed they were genuine at the time. But in a statement on Kuwait TV in 2015, he publicly apologized to the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Nasser, Al-Kharafi and their families for his role in the controversy.