Brazilian Olympics chief arrested in bribery probe

Brazilian Olympics chief arrested in bribery probe

Brazil's Federal Police arrested Thursday morning, Carlos Arthur Nuzman the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), and the general director of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, Leonardo Gryner.

"The IOC's Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer has asked the Brazilian authorities for full information in order to proceed with the IOC's investigation, and has offered the IOC's full cooperation", the spokesperson said.

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 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.

Nuzman's lawyer told Brazilian press that the measures against his client were unusual and harsh.

Investigators also reportedly found a key that could belong to a Swiss safe containing gold.

Nuzman, 72, who has headed up Brazil's committee since 1995, has denied any wrongdoing.

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In Nuzman's last 10 years as Brazilian Olympic Committee president, his net worth increased 457 percent, according to investigators.

"Nuzman was the agent responsible for uniting the different interests, making contacts, oiling the relations and arranging the mechanism for passing the bribes from [former Rio State Governor Sergio] Cabral directly to African members of the International Olympic Committee", the prosecutors' office said after Nuzman was questioned by authorities, according to the Financial Times. Now, however, O Globo reports that prosecutors can cite several emails between Nuzman, Gryner, and the younger Diack that appear to confirm their agreement to trade the money for the vote.

"We are showing that Brazil is no longer a paradise for corrupt people, for thieves", she said.

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

In a statement, the International Olympic Committee said it was fully cooperating 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", the IOC said.