RTIwala Trending Rio Olympics 2016: Brazilian police, in a recent scenario, arrested the Chairman of the Rio Olympic 2016 Committee. The arrest was a part of a probe into alleged vote-buying to secure Rio’s hosting of the 2016 Games. Twenty federal police agents swept into Rio de Janeiro’s upscale Leblon neighborhood in an operation to arrest 75-year-old Carlos Nuzman. The Rio 2016 Committee’s Chief Operating Officer Leonardo Gryner was arrested in a separate raid.
Nuzman and Gryner “will be charged with the crimes of corruption, money laundering and criminal association,” police said in a statement. The men were sent to the Benefica prison in northern Rio, a police source confirmed. With their detention, the Vice President of Brazil’s Olympic Committee, Paulo Wanderley, has temporarily taken charge of the body.
Rio Olympics 2016: Nuzman’s Assets increased by 457%
The arrests are the latest in a widespread corruption scandal rocking Brazil that has spell bounded many of the country’s top political and business figures. It is “essential” that the suspects be detained “as a guarantee of public order” to allow their assets to be blocked. Also, it is essential to stop them from engaging in any criminal activity or interfering with evidence, the Rio prosecutor’s office said in a statement. Prosecutors asked for some $319 million dollars in assets belonging to Nuzman and Gryner to be blocked. Nuzman, who has headed Brazil’s Olympic Committee since 1995, saw his assets increase 457 percent over the past decade with no clear source of the new income.
Nuzman tried to hide his wealth, often in foreign accounts. He only declared he owned 16 gold bars weighing one kilogram (2.2 pounds) each.
‘Rio Olympics2016: The Unfair Play
Following an investigation dubbed “Unfair Play”, Brazilian officials last month said that Nuzman was the “lynchpin” to bribe the International Olympic Committee into awarding Rio de Janeiro last year’s Games. At the time, Nuzman was detained and questioned and authorities confiscated his passport. Investigators also searched the offices of Brazil’s Olympic Committee and several companies suspected of links to the scandal.
The latest operation in Rio Olympics 2016
Authorities allege that former Rio governor Sergio Cabral, who is serving a 14-year prison term for bribery and money laundering, was the mastermind of the plot. He saw $2 million in bribes paid to Papa Massata Diack, the son of Senegalese IOC member Lamine Diack, before the 2009 vote.
Rio 2016 was credited with being a sporting and organizational success, but revelations of massive corruption during the preparations and now even in the awarding of the Games has tarnished the legacy. The latest scandal cast a pall over an IOC meeting in Lima last month following the designation of Paris for the 2024 Games and Los Angeles as the 2028 host city. IOC President Thomas Bach was asked at the time about Nuzman’s role in the organization as an honorary member. Bach pledged the IOC’s co-operation but noted that there are limits to any sports organization’s powers of investigation.
The IOC group “will not comment further on this matter until a recommendation is issued by the IOC Ethics Commission,” and it “reiterates that the presumption of innocence prevails.”
(Inputs by Gehna Kundra)