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Brazil says bribes were paid to bring 2016 Olympics to Rio

The chairman of Brazil’s Olympic committee coordinated the payment of bribes to secure the award of the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro, prosecutors said.

Carlos Arthur Nuzman was the “central element” in bringing together Brazilian business leaders and politicians with members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), prosecutor Fabiana Schneider said on Tuesday, reports Efe.

Police questioned Nuzman on Tuesday and the Attorney General’s Office has asked the courts to freeze his assets and seize his passport.

“It’s undeniable that Nuzman was very active in convincing people to support Rio de Janeiro’s candidacy, Schneider said. “The Games were used as a trampoline for corrupt actions of Olympic dimension.”

The investigation, carried out in collaboration with French authorities, has also implicated former Rio de Janeiro state Governor Sergio Cabral — already behind bars on corruption charges — and Papa Massata Diack, son of Senegalese businessman Lamine Diack.

The elder Diack was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations from 1999-2015 and an IOC member in 2009, when the decision was made to award the 2016 Games to Brazil’s second-largest city.

Cabral, according to Brazilian prosecutors, received at least $10 million in 2009 from various enterprises and individuals, and $2 million or more was transferred to Papa Massata Diack just days before the IOC vote on October 2, 2009.

Schneider said that the younger Diack was bribed because he had a lot of influence with other African representatives on the IOC, seen as key due to Africa’s tendency to vote as a bloc in the selection of locations to host the Olympics.

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