Fifteen years after a bidding scandal tainted the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, the Olympic movement faces growing allegations of a similar vote-buying scheme in Brazil.
In the latest development Thursday, Brazilian authorities arrested Carlos Nuzman, president of the country’s Olympic committee and a key figure in Rio de Janeiro’s winning bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“The [International Olympic Committee’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 IOC said in a brief statement.
Nuzman and Leonardo Gryner, another Rio Olympics official taken into custody, have been swept up in allegations that $2 million was funneled to former IOC member Lamine Diack in exchange for securing votes that helped Rio outpace Madrid for the 2016 Games.
According to Brazil’s state-run news agency, authorities allege Nuzman’s net worth inexplicably rose by 457% during his tenure as Brazil’s top Olympic official and that he recently attempted to regularize a substantial amount of money.
Investigators also reportedly found a key that could belong to a Swiss safe containing gold.
Nuzman’s attorney characterized the arrest as “harsh and unusual,” according ot the G1 news portal.
“The IOC will not comment further on this matter until a recommendation is issued by the IOC Ethics Commission,” Olympic officials stated. “It also reiterates that the presumption of innocence prevails.”
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