Friday 20 July 2018

Brazilian Olympic chief arrested on bribery and fraud charges

The president of the Rio 2016 Games was arrested in Brazil

Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) President Carlos Arthur Nuzman arrives to Federal Police headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) President Carlos Arthur Nuzman arrives to Federal Police headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The International Olympic Committee admits it could suspend honorary member Carlos Nuzman after the president of the Rio 2016 Games was arrested in Brazil on bribery and fraud charges.

The IOC's revamped ethics commission has been investigating Nuzman, who is also president of his country's Olympic committee, ever since his house was among several raided by the Brazilian authorities last month.

Those raids were a result of information gained from the two-year French probe into former world athletics supremo Lamine Diack and his circle of associates and family members, which has already revealed evidence of widespread corruption in global sport.

The 75-year-old Nuzman was not detained in September but has now been arrested, along with Rio 2016's general director Leonardo Gryner.

According to the Brazilian media, Nuzman is accused of being the link between Brazilian businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho, nicknamed 'King Arthur', and Diack for bribes to African IOC members ahead of the 2009 vote that awarded the Olympics and Paralympics to the South American city.

Nuzman denies any wrongdoing.

Reuters report that Marcelo Bretas, the federal judge who authorized his arrest, said new evidence indicated that Nuzman's role in the alleged vote-buying scheme was "more relevant" than initially thought.

"The accusation of vote-buying for the 2016 Olympics is unfounded," Nelio Machado, a lawyer for Nuzman, told reporters. "Today's measures are harsh and unusual."

Bretas said in an arrest order that Nuzman's wealth grew by 416 percent between 2006 and 2016 and that he had assets overseas that were only declared after the vote-buying investigation began.

The assets include 16 kg in gold bars deposited in Switzerland, Bretas said.

The 2009 vote was held in Copenhagen and Rio beat Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo, much to the annoyance of former US president Barack Obama who turned up in person to lobby on behalf of his home city.

In a statement, the IOC said it "takes note" of Nuzman's arrest and its chief ethics and compliance officer has asked the Brazilian authorities for more information so it can proceed with its own investigation.

"(But) given the new facts, the IOC ethics commission may consider provisional measures while respecting Mr Nuzman's right to be heard," it said, before adding "the presumption of innocence prevails".

The ethics commission is chaired by former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon and it can recommend action against individuals to the IOC's executive board.

Diack's IOC membership was provisionally suspended a week after his arrest in France in November 2015 and he resigned the following day.

Press Association

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