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Lava Jato Looks Into Possible Vote-Buying in Decision for Rio to Host 2016 Olympics

09/05/2017 - 14h11

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ITALO NOGUEIRA
FROM RIO

The Brazilian Federal Police launched Operation "Unfair Play" on Tuesday morning (the 5th), seeking to put behind bars businessman Arthur Menezes de Soares (known as "King Arthur") and Eliane Cavalcante, partners at multiple firms that provide outsourced labor services to the Rio de Janeiro government.

Mr. Soares is suspected not only of bribing a former governor, but also of aiding members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to buy votes back in 2009, when Rio was selected to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

Also on the Federal Police's radar is Carlos Arthur Nuzman, who was in charge of organizing the Olympics and is the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (known by its Portuguese acronym as COB).

Judge Marcelo Bretas issued a subpoena requiring Mr. Nuzman to testify in court.

Another eleven search and seizure warrants are being carried out by Federal Police agents in seven different neighborhoods in the city of Rio (Leblon, Ipanema, Lagoa, Centro, São Conrado, Barra da Tijuca and Jacaré), as well as Nova Iguaçu (RJ) and even Paris.

The operation is yet another Rio-based ramification of Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato), where judge Bretas is issuing orders. The suspects arrested will be indicted for corruption, money laundering and conspiracy.

Investigations began nine months ago with the cooperation of French and American authorities.

According to the Federal Police, the bribes were offered through fictitious service provision contracts, the distribution of cash, deposits in bank accounts abroad and by covering personal expenditures.

Mr. Nuzman's attorney, Sérgio Mazzillo, stated that his client did not commit any illegal acts and that the decision for Rio to host the 2016 Olympics did not involve vote-buying.

He also claimed that he did not have access to the case file and would therefore not be issuing any further comments.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it is aware of the new stage of the operation that was launched on Tuesday (the 5th) targeting Carlos Arthur Nuzman, and that it would "go the full length" to obtain more information in order to consider whether any measures need to be taken.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

Read the article in the original language

Ricardo Moraes/Reuters
Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) President Carlos Arthur Nuzman (C) arrives to Federal Police headquarters in Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) President Carlos Arthur Nuzman (C) arrives to Federal Police headquarters in Rio de Janeiro

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