July 13, 2018 / 3:35 PM / in 9 months

World Chess Federation suspends long-time president Ilyumzhinov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The World Chess Federation said on Friday its ethics commission had suspended long-time president, Russian businessman Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, for having allegedly violated the organisation’s code of ethics.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov gestures during a news briefing in Moscow, Russia March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

Ilyumzhinov, who has headed the federation since 1995, is being suspended after the commission says it found that he had “acted in a manner incompatible with his duty to put the interests of FIDE above his own personal interests,” among other alleged violations.

The commission did not elaborate on the specifics of the alleged violations in its statement. In a written response to questions from Reuters, FIDE said it could not comment on the decision made by the ethics commission.

Ilyumzhinov was added to a U.S. sanctions list in November 2015 for allegedly “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of” the Syrian government, as well as the country’s central bank and its governor, according to the sanctions designation.

Ilyumzhinov has denied the accusations.

When contacted by Reuters on Friday, Ilyumzhinov said his suspension was a “purely political decision” based on the fact that he was under U.S. sanctions.

“I consider this illegal,” he said. “It’s meddling in the internal affairs of the organisation, it’s a human rights violation and that’s why I don’t plan on resigning. I consider myself the president of FIDE.”

When asked to comment on Ilyumzhinov’s statement that the decision was politically driven, FIDE said: “It’s not a political decision. The FIDE Ethics Commission is an independent body which is elected by the General Assembly.”

In December 2015 FIDE said that Ilyumzhinov was withdrawing from “any legal, financial and business operations” over his addition to the U.S. sanctions list and that deputy president Georgios Makropoulos would be exercising these prerogatives.

Makropoulos could not be reached for comment on Friday.

FIDE’s website still lists Ilyumzhinov as president.

Ilyumzhinov told Reuters he was planning to file an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland later on Friday. CAS did not reply to a request for comment.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Jon Boyle

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