Ex-head of Brazil Olympic committee sentenced to 30 years in jail

Carlos Arthur Nuzman was allegedly part of group that bought votes in bid for Rio de Janeiro to host 2016 Olympic Games.

Carlos Nuzman, president of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, has been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison for vote-bribing scandal [File: Leo Correa/The Associated Press]

A former head of Brazil’s Olympic Committee has been sentenced to 30 years and 11 months in prison for allegedly buying votes in a successful bid for Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympics.

The ruling by Judge Marcelo Bretas against Carlos Arthur Nuzman, who headed the committee for 20 years, was made public on Thursday. Nuzman was found guilty of corruption, criminal organisation, money laundering and tax evasion.

However, he will not face prison time until all of his appeals are heard.

Bretas also sentenced former Rio Governor Sergio Cabral, businessman Arthur Soares and Leonardo Gryner, who was the Rio 2016 committee director-general of operations.

Investigators say the three men and Nuzman coordinated to bribe the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack, and his son Papa Diack for votes.

Nuzman was first arrested in October 2017 along with Gryner.

Cabral, who has been in jail since 2016 and faces a series of other convictions and investigations, told Bretas two years ago he had paid about $2m in exchange for up to six votes in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting that awarded Rio the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He said the money had come from a debt owed to him by Soares.

Cabral, who governed Rio state between 2003 and 2010, added that another $500,000 was paid later to Diack’s son with the aim of securing three more votes of IOC members. The former governor faces an additional 10 years and eight months in prison in Bretas’ ruling.

The judge’s decision labels Nuzman as “one of the main [people responsible] for the promotion and the organisation of the criminal scheme, given his position in the Brazilian Olympic Committee and before international authorities”.

Bretas also said the sports executive “headed and coordinated action of the other agents, clearly as a leader” to illegally garnish support at the IOC.

The judge said he will send the results of the investigation to authorities in Senegal and France, where Papa Diack and Lamine Diack live, respectively.

Rio’s bid beat Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid to host the 2016 Games.

Authorities in Brazil launched their investigation in 2017 after French newspaper Le Monde found members of the IOC had been bribed three days before the 2009 session in Copenhagen where Rio was eventually picked to host the Games.

Source: News Agencies