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SAO PAULO (AP) – Carlos Arthur Nuzman, who headed the Brazilian Olympic Committee for more than two decades, was sentenced to 30 years and 11 months in prison for buying votes for Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
Judge Marcelo Bretas’ verdict became public on Thursday.
Nuzman, who also headed the Rio Organizing Committee, was found guilty of corruption, criminal association, money laundering and tax evasion.
The 79-year-old manager, who was an IOC member for 12 years, including the time his colleagues were allegedly bribed in the 2009 vote, will not be jailed until all of his appeals are heard.
He and his lawyer did not comment on the decision.
Bretas was also sentenced to prison, former Rio Governor Sergio Cabral, businessman Arthur Soares and Leonardo Gryner, who was the director general of the Rio Committee on Operations. Investigators say all three and Nuzman coordinated to bribe former International Athletics Federation President Lamine Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack for votes.
Cabral, who has been in jail since 2016 and faces other convictions and investigations, told Bretas two years ago that he paid about $ 2 million in exchange for up to six votes at the meeting of the International Olympic Committee at the Rio’s Olympic and Paralympic Games were awarded. He said the money came from a Soares debt.
Cabral, who ruled the state of Rio from 2003 to 2010, added that Diack’s son was later given an additional $ 500,000 to gain three more IOC member votes. Lamine Diack was a senior IOC member at the time
Bretas’ verdict describes Nuzman as “one of the main people responsible for promoting and organizing the criminal system, given his position on the Brazilian Olympic Committee and before international authorities”. The judge also said the sports manager had “led and coordinated the actions of the other agents, clearly as a leader” in an attempt to garnish illegal assistance with the IOC.
The judge said he would forward the results of the investigation to the authorities in Senegal, where Papa Massata Diack and Lamine Diack live, and to France. A French court sentenced Lamine Diack to two years in prison for corruption as the head of athletics in 2020. In May, Diack returned to Senegal at the age of 88.
Rio’s bid beat Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid to host the 2016 Games in a vote in Copenhagen.
Barack Obama traveled to Denmark as the incumbent President of the United States to promote his hometown of Chicago. Many years later, while still in office, he hinted at possible corruption in the sport when he described the 2016 Olympic vote as “a little boiled”.
The investigation in Brazil began in 2017 after the French newspaper Le Monde found out three days before the vote that members of the IOC had been bribed.
In 2017 the IOC suspended Nuzman’s honorary membership, which he has held since 2013 and has yet to be removed.
“Now the IOC’s ethics committee will examine the judgment against Mr. Nuzman and make its recommendations as soon as it receives the full information from the Brazilian authorities,” said the IOC in a statement on Friday.
AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this report
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