Friday 20 October 2017

Head of Rio Olympics to remain in jail after judge's ruling

Carlos Nuzman, President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee is escorted by federal police officers, at the Federal Police headquarters, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo).
Carlos Nuzman, President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee is escorted by federal police officers, at the Federal Police headquarters, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo).

Carlos Nuzman, who headed the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, will remain in prison under a judge's order issued on Monday.

Nuzman was arrested last week and held temporarily as part of an investigation into a vote-buying scheme to win the rights to host the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The judge's order changed Nuzman's status from temporary detention to preventative detention.

Nuzman's lawyer, Nelio Machado, said there was no timeframe for Nuzman's release from jail.

Brazilian and French authorities say Nuzman was a key figure in channelling at least 2 million US dollars (£1.52m) to Lamine Diack, a former International Olympic Committee member from Senegal who helped sway votes for Rio.

Nuzman's detention is the latest blow to last year's Olympics, which were troubled throughout with sluggish ticket sales, budget cuts, and a debt that required a government bailout to hold the Paralympics.

Meanwhile, many sports venues built for the games are vacant.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended Nuzman last week from his role as an honorary member.

It also suspended the Brazilian Olympic Committee, which was headed by Nuzman.

The 75-year-old Nuzman was also removed from his role on an IOC advisory commission organising the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Investigators have said they identified 16 gold bars, weighing 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) each, located in a depository which are reported to belong to Nuzman.

Their value on the market is about 750,000 US dollars (£570,000).

"While Olympic medallists chased their dreams of gold medals, leaders of the Brazilian Olympic Committee stashed their gold in Switzerland," prosecutor Fabiana Schenider said last week.

Authorities said Nuzman was arrested because he tried to hamper the investigation by regularising assets likely gained with illicit money.

Nuzman was originally questioned in September. About two weeks after, investigators said he amended his tax declaration to add about 600,000 US dollars (£455,000) in income.

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