Brazilian police have searched the home of Carlos Arthur Nuzman, head of the country’s Olympic committee, as part of a corruption probe into the 2016 Rio Games.
At least 70 officers – in liaison with French officials – on Tuesday also served two arrest warrants and conducted search and seizure operations in 11 sites across Rio, in an investigation into a suspected international vote-buying scheme to secure Rio de Janeiro’s selection as the host of last year’s Olympics.
Brazil’s federal police and French officials, including well-known French anti-corruption judge, Renaud Van Ruymbeke, could be seen outside Nuzman’s house in Rio’s affluent seaside Leblon neighbourhood.
Nuzman himself was seen leaving by car as police exited his house carrying sacks of evidence.
In a statement, Brazilian police did not give names, but said they were probing “an international corruption scheme” aimed at “the buying of votes for the election of (Rio) by the International Olympic Committee as the venue for the 2016 Olympics.”
Brazilian police confirmed they began investigating the alleged vote-buying, dubbed “Unfair Play”, nine months ago.
French authorities had been conducting their own probe into the awarding of the Games, as detailed in a series of articles featured in French newspaper Le Monde in March.
The paper linked Brazilian businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho with a $1.5m payment to the son of Lamine Diack, then president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, three days before the IOC 2016 host city vote in 2009.
Following Le Monde’s reporting, the IOC announced they had launched an investigation into the allegations.
On Tuesday, an IOC representative said: “The IOC has learned about these circumstances from the media and is making every effort to get the full information.
“It is in the highest interests of the IOC to get clarification on this matter.”
Rio lost out to Madrid in the first round of the 2009 vote but returned to secure the nomination on a third ballot and become the first South American host city for the Olympics, winning by 66 votes to 32.
A Rio Olympics spokesman declined to comment on the police statement.