RÍO DE JANEIRO – Federal police searched the house of the president of the Brazilian Olympic committee on Tuesday and issued a warrant forcing him to testify in an investigation into bribery surrounding the awarding of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Police said detention warrants had been issued for Carlos Nuzman and his associate, Arthur César de Menezes Soares Filho.
A press photographer saw Nuzman leaving his house accompanied by his lawyer. Police were also seen removing suitcases, documents and a computer.
Nuzman’s lawyer, Sergio Mazzillo, told reporters outside Nuzman’s house that his client would cooperate but was innocent of any wrongdoing.
“I can confirm that [Nuzman] did not commit any irregularity,” Mazzillo said. “Unfortunately, this has created a media spectacle.”
A police statement said authorities were investigating an international corruption scheme that involved the buying of International Olympic Committee (IOC) votes for the awarding of the 2016 Games. In total, 11 detention warrants were issued for people in both Brazil and France in what police dubbed “Operation Unfair Play.”
The 75-year-old Nuzman was an IOC member for 12 years and one of the most prominent players in bringing the games to Rio. He is now an honorary IOC member and part of the 2020 Tokyo Games commission, which advises organizers how to run the event.
French and Brazilian authorities have been working on a corruption investigation involving bribery surrounding the awarding of the 2016 Rio Games and the 2020 Tokyo Games.
In France, a 2-year-old probe into corruption in sports first came to light with the arrest in November 2015 of Lamine Diack, the former head of track and field’s governing body, known as the IAAF. The French have been looking into allegations that Diack, one of his sons, Papa Massata Diack, and others were involved in blackmailing athletes and covering-up doping positives.
That initial and ongoing probe has now morphed into several investigations, expanded beyond the IAAF to look at suspicions of possible vote-buying in the awarding of sports events, and involved law enforcement agencies beyond France.