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Federal Police Arrest Brazilian Olympic Committee Chairman

07 October 2017
Federal Police Arrest Brazilian Olympic Committee Chairman

RIO DE JANEIRO-Brazilian police arrested the head of the country's Olympic committee Thursday for his alleged role in a vote-buying scheme to secure Rio de Janeiro's bid to host the 2016 Games.

Estadão reports that federal authorities are indicting the two officials for corruption, money laundering and criminal organization.

But Nuzman and Rio 2016's general director Leonardo Gryner were not actually arrested until Thursday. No charges have yet been laid.

It said Nuzman would provisionally lose all the "the rights, prerogatives and functions" deriving from his International Olympic Committee status and that he would be withdrawn from the coordination commission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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

According to state-run news agency Agencia Brasil, Carlos Nuzman, who oversaw the 2016 Rio Games, is alleged to have been involved in an operation to buy votes during the bidding process.

Athletes may be affected indirectly, though, by the freezing of subsidies and payments.

"It is in the highest interests of the IOC to be able to fully address such matters concerning an IOC member or an IOC honorary member as soon as possible, in order to protect its reputation as an organisation".

The IOC, which is conducting its own internal probe, said in a statement it would cooperate in the Brazilian investigation following news of Nuzman's arrest.

'(But) given the new facts, the International Olympic Committee 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 IOC board chaired by President Thomas Bach approved Ban's suggested sanctions on Friday, and added others, in a further sign of frustration with Rio organizers since the troubled Summer Games ended 14 months ago. "It also reiterates that the presumption of innocence prevails". Yesterday, whistle-blower Eric Maleson told ATR that he had written to the IOC yet again asking for intervention in the committee.

Rio defeated Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago that year to host the 2016 Games.

The Lausanne-based International Olympic Committee said it is cooperating with the investigation, but stressed that innocence must be presumed until guilt is proven.