RIO DE JANEIRO/PARIS, (Reuters) – Police raided the home of Brazil’s Olympics chief Carlos Arthur Nuzman today, accusing him of brokering a deal to bribe International Olympic Committee members to bring the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro with the backing of the former state governor.
A federal judge ordered the seizure of Nuzman’s passport as he was brought in for questioning in Rio about an alleged $2 million payment in return for the vote of Lamine Diack, former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Police were also serving two arrest warrants and conducting search and seizure operations as part of the investigation started nine months ago in cooperation with French authorities, police said in a statement.
In Paris, French prosecutors said the probe had revealed a corruption scheme centered on Papa Massata Diack, the son of Lamine Diack, who was once an influential member of the IOC.
Brazilian prosecutors said evidence showed a criminal conspiracy headed by former Rio de Janeiro state governor Sergio Cabral, who was convicted this year of taking part in a domestic corruption scheme.
Prosecutors allege the conspirators led by Cabral gave $2 million for the elder Diack’s influential vote to bring the 2016 Games to Rio, with Brazilian Olympic Committee President Nuzman making the connections on both sides.
The French newspaper Le Monde first reported in March on a payment to the Diack family three days before the 2009 IOC vote to choose the host city for the 2016 Games.
Rio lost the first vote to Madrid but bounced back to win the nomination on a third ballot, by 66 votes to 32.
After the publication of the Le Monde report, the IOC said it had started investigating the allegations, and a Rio 2016 Games spokesman said the 2009 IOC vote was clean.
Today, a spokesman for the Rio Olympics declined to comment on the federal police statement.
A media representative for the Lausanne, Switzerland-based IOC 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,” the representative added.
Reuters could not immediately contact representatives for Nuzman and Cabral.