Rio 2016 Olympic chief Carlos Nuzman arrested in corruption investigation – The Guardian

The man in charge of last year’s Rio Olympics was arrested yesterday as it was alleged 16 gold bars worth $2m (£1.53m) that were stored in a bank in Switzerland were among his hidden assets.

The investigation into corruption within the International Olympic Committee (IOC) escalated as Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, was detained amid claims he was a key figure in a bribery scandal which led to Rio de Janeiro being awarded South America’s first Olympics.

Nuzman was arrested on suspicion of corruption, money laundering and participating in a criminal operation after Brazilian prosecutors alleged his estate increased in value by 457% between 2006 and 2016. They claimed not to have been able to locate any evidence of increased income. Leonardo Gryner, former chief operating officer of Rio 2016, was also arrested on the same charges.

Nuzman, a well known figure in Olympic circles, is suspected of acting as a facilitator, organising a $2m payment made by a wealthy Brazilian businessman into the account of Papa Massata Diack just two days before Rio won the right to stage the Games.

Massata Diack – who recently lost an appeal against a life ban from athletics over corruption allegations – is the son of the disgraced former IOC member Lamine Diack, who it is believed voted for Rio to host the Summer Games at an IOC session in Copenhagen in 2009 in exchange for the money.

Nuzman’s home in Leblon, an upmarket district of Rio, was raided last month as part of Operation Unfair Play, undertaken by Brazilian prosecutors. They are coordinating efforts with French authorities investigating corruption surrounding the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic bids.

Brazilian police said Nuzman was being held indefinitely because he had tried to hamper the investigation by regularising assets they allege were gained with “illicit” money. According to an arrest warrant, the 74-year-old had also amended his tax declaration to add about $600,000 (£457,560) in income since he was first questioned last month.

An IOC spokesperson said in a statement that its Ethics Commission had already started an investigation into Nuzman and “may consider provisional measures” in the wake of his arrest. Nuzman became an honorary IOC member after his membership ended in 2013.

“The IOC’s Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer has asked the Brazilian authorities for full information in order to proceed with the IOC’s investigation, and has offered our full cooperation,” the spokesman said.

“The IOC will not comment further on this matter until a recommendation is issued by the Ethics Commission.”

A lawyer for Nuzman suggested he had been unfairly treated. Nelio Machado told Brazilian news portal G1 that being detained as Nuzman had was “harsh and unusual.”

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