Rio Olympics boss sentenced to 30 years in prison for buying votes in 2016 | Olympic games


Olympic Games | The Guardian

Carlos Arthur Nuzman, who has chaired the Brazilian Olympic Committee for more than two decades, has been sentenced to 30 years and 11 months in prison for allegedly 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 2016 Organizing Committee, was found guilty of corruption, criminal association, money laundering and tax evasion. The 79-year-old will only be detained after hearing all of his appeals. He and his lawyer did not comment on the decision.

Bretas also sentenced former Rio Governor Sergio Cabral, businessman Arthur Soares and Leonardo Gryner, the director general of operations of the Rio 2016, to prison terms. Investigators say all three and Nuzman coordinated to bribe former President of the International Athletics Federation, Lamine Diack, and his son Papa Massata Diack for votes. Papa Massata Diack has previously denied the allegations to the Guardian, accusing Cabral of trying to close a deal.

Lamine Diack was sentenced to four years in prison, two of which were suspended, by a French court in September 2020 in connection with money laundering and corruption for Russian doping; Papa Massata Diack was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison and fined £ 1 million. Both announced their intention to appeal.

Cabral, who has been in jail since 2016 and faces a string of other convictions and investigations, told Bretas two years ago that he paid about $ 2 million in exchange for up to six votes at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting Rio, at which the award was presented to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. He said the money came from a Soares debt.

Cabral, who ruled the state of Rio between 2003 and 2010, added that Diack’s son was later given an additional $ 500,000 to get three more votes from IOC members.

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The Bretas ruling describes Nuzman as “one of the main people responsible for the promotion and organization of 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” to garnish illegal assistance with the IOC.

The judge said he would forward the results of the investigation to the authorities in Senegal and France, where Papa Massata Diack and Lamine Diack respectively live.

Rio’s bid to host the 2016 Games beat Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid. The investigation in Brazil began in 2017 after the French newspaper Le Monde found IOC members had been bribed three days before the 2009 meeting in Copenhagen where Rio was chosen to host the Games.

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