President of Brazilian Olympic Committee arrested

Investigation continues into a vote-buying scheme to bring the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.

The president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee was arrested on Thursday amid an investigation into a vote-buying scheme to bring the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.

Carlos Nuzman, who is also an honorary International Olympic Committee member, was held for questioning last month by Brazilian and French authorities. They said he was a central figure in channeling at least $2 million to Lamine Diack, a former IOC member from Senegal who helped secure votes when Rio was picked in 2009 by the IOC.

Brazilian authorities have said the behind-the-scenes dealings to win the vote amounted to a “criminal organization,” led by Sergio Cabral, the former governor of Rio de Janeiro who has been jailed on a different corruption conviction.

Securing the games for Rio was just the first step in the massive scheme, according to Nuzman’s arrest order. The Olympics led to massive public investment in infrastructure projects and services contracts, opening a pipeline of money that was used to reward friends and allies and pay bribes.

RELATED: Rio’s Olympics, one year later

Authorities said Nuzman would be held because investigators found he tried to hamper the investigation by regularizing assets likely gained with illicit money. About two weeks after being held for questioning, Nuzman amended his tax declaration to add about $600,000 in income, the order said.

“He clearly acted to obstruct the investigation,” said the order, adding that the lack of a clear origin of the extra money “indicated it was illicit.”

Leonardo Gryner, director-general of operations for the organizing committee, was also arrested on Thursday.

Investigators said they also recovered a key they believed was for a safe in Switzerland containing gold.

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

Nuzman’s lawyer, Nelio Machado, told news portal G1 that being detained like this was “harsh and unusual” and denied there had been a vote-buying scheme.

In Nuzman’s last 10 years as Brazilian Olympic Committee president, his net worth increased 457 per cent, according to investigators. The 75-year-old Nuzman was one of the most prominent figures in bringing the games to Rio.

Prosecutors previously laid out a scheme in which Nuzman arranged for businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho’s company to pay Lamine Diack $2 million into an account in the name of Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack. On Thursday, prosecutors said they have since uncovered emails showing the younger Diack asked for more money and received it.

Schenider said she was surprised by the attempts to obstruct the investigation but that the machinations would not thwart justice.

“We are showing that Brazil is no longer a paradise for corrupt people, for thieves,” she said. “We are getting to people who never thought they would have to answer for their actions.”

RELATED: Rio is stuck with big bills and vacant venues after Olympics

In a statement, the IOC said it was fully co-operating with the investigation and conducting its own probe.

“Given the new facts, the IOC ethics commission may consider provisional measures while respecting Mr. Nuzman’s right to be heard,” said the statement, which did not offer more details.

Peter Prengaman And Sarah Dilorenzo, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Rampage attendance reaches record low

Manager Ron German says low attendance could put team in jeopardy financially

Rainmakers dominate Caledonia

Rainmakers win first of two games 71-31

Teams set for All Native tournament

The 51-team field features 39 automatic qualifiers and 12 qualifying teams

Sports briefs

Here’s what’s going on in Prince Rupert sports this weekend

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

Heart of Our City: A fisherman with two loves

Norm Ostrom has owned one boat in his life — Arne A. — for almost 60 years

Carriers wanted for the Northern View

We have open routes for carriers all over Prince Rupert

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Most Read