The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio were a logistical and public relations nightmare with facilities under construction until the very last second, workers not being paid, rampant pollution (especially in waterways) that stoked fears about contracting the Zika virus, insufficient mass transit and poor attendance. A dead body even washed up on the beach near the volleyball venue, which probably says as much about the 2016 Games as much as any accomplishments by Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, or phony robbery scandal involving Ryan Lochte.
So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Rio Olympics were corrupt as well?
On Thursday, Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and Rio Games was arrested by Brazilian authorities for allegedly conspiring to bribe members of the International Olympic Committee to buy their votes for Rio getting the 2016 Games. Leonardo Gryner, the general director of the Rio Olympics and former head of the country’s national Olympic committee was also arrested.
According to Reuters, Brazilian investigators claim that Nuzman, 75, helped organize a $2 million bribe to IOC officials to ensure they would vote for Rio to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The investigation into Nuzman and Gryner is part of Operation Unfair Play, which Brazilian police organized to look into alleged corruption schemes involving the Rio Olympics.
Estadão reports that federal authorities are indicting the two officials for corruption, money laundering and criminal organization. Nuzman has surrendered his Brazilian and Russian passports and is unable to leave the country.
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. Overall, Nuzman’s estate has increased in value by 457 percent over the past 10 years with the most notable spikes occurring over the past three years. This past year, according to Nuzman’s tax returns, his estate increased by $1.4 million, nearly all of which was traced to a company based in the Virgin Islands.
Authorities suspect Nuzman as being the primary link between prominent Brazilian businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes and Lamine Diack, Senegal’s former International Association of Athletics Federations. Diack was a voting member of the IOC when Rio was awarded the Summer Olympics in 2009. Prosecutors believe de Menezes gave $1.5 million to a company set up by Diack’s son in order to buy votes of African IOC members.