Brazil police probe Rio Olympics "vote-buying" scheme
On Tuesday, Brazilian officials alleged that the country's Olympics chief was the "lynchpin" in a plot to bribe the International Olympic Committee to award last year's Games to Rio de Janeiro. In a statement released by the Brazilian police, it was revealed that a probe was ongoing about "an international corruption scheme" aimed at "the buying of votes for the election of (Rio)."
The police informed that Carlos Nuzman, who was the pointman for Rio's successful bid last year, had been taken in for questioning. After searching Nuzman's house, the police left with bags of evidence in what was the culmination of a nine-month long investigation spanning several countries. The prosecutors revealed that Nuzman had not been arrested but his passport had been confiscated.
In addition, an arrest warrant has been issued for businessman Arthur Soares. The businessman had won lucrative pre-Olympics contracts from the government of Rio which was headed by the now-imprisoned state governor Sergio Cabral. Eliane Pereira Cavalcante, who was a former associate of Soares, was arrested in Rio while as many as 11 properties were subjected to search and seizure raids.
At a press conference, prosecutor Fabiana Schneider said that Soares, also known as "King Arthur," allegedly bribed Senegalese IOC member Lamine Diack's son before the vote in 2009 in which Rio had beaten Tokyo, Madrid and Chicago to win the 2016 Games. Nuzman, in fact, was the "lynchpin" between Soares and Papa Massata Diack, the son, Scheider added.
An IOC spokesman was contacted in Lausanne, Switzerland, and he appeared to have been taken by surprise. "The IOC has learned about these circumstances from the media and is making every effort to get the full information," he said. "It is in the highest interests of the IOC to get clarification on this matter," he added.