Nuzman Arrested in Rio de Janeiro


Brazilian police yesterday arrested the chairman of the Brazilian Olympic Committee as part of a probe into alleged buying of votes to secure Rio de Janeiro's hosting of the Olympics past year. The two are being charged with corruption and money-laundering in what is being called Operation Unfair Play.

The IOC's revamped ethics commission has been investigating Nuzman, who is also president of his country's Olympic committee, ever since his house was among several raided by the Brazilian authorities last month.

Nuzman appeared relaxed and chatted with the agents as he entered the police station.

Brazilian newspaper O'Globo talked to investigators who revealed that $155,000 (U.S.) was found at Nuzman's residence in five different currencies and 16 one kilogram gold bars were recently deposited in Switzerland.

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

Marcelo Bretas, the federal judge who issued the arrest warrant, said that new evidence indicated Nuzman's role in the alleged vote buying scheme was "more relevant" than previously believed.

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At that time authorities confiscated Nuzman's Brazilian and Russian passports preventing him from traveling to Lima, Peru for the International Olympic Committee session to name two host cities Paris 2024 and LA 2028.

Thursday's operation in Rio was dubbed "Unfair Play - Second Half".

Rio defeated Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago to host the 2016 Games. "It is a hard and unusual measure in due process".

A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee acknowledged the arrest and said Brazilian authorities would be requested to pass on relevant information.

Rio 2016 was credited with being a sporting and organizational success, but revelations of massive corruption during the preparations and now even in the awarding of the Games have tarnished the legacy.

Its chief ethics and compliance officer has asked Brazil for information to proceed with its own internal investigation, which was ongoing, the body said. The Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo notes that Nuzman was reportedly planning to demand the International Olympic Committee "provide him with a financial bailout" given the exponential debt left behind by the event. Given the new facts, the IOC Ethics Commission may consider provisional measures while respecting Mr Nuzman's right to be heard.