Sun, Oct 22, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Rio Olympics head Nuzman released, awaiting charges

AP, RIO DE JANEIRO

Carlos Nuzman on Friday left prison after his arrest two weeks ago on eventual charges that he arranged bribes to land the Olympics he headed last year in Rio de Janeiro.

Nuzman walked from a Rio prison wearing a white polo shirt, accompanied by his defense team and watched by a handful of curious bystanders.

The 75-year-old Brazilian is to stand trial for money laundering, tax evasion and racketeering, although it is unclear how long that will take under Brazil’s slow-moving justice system.

Brazilian and French authorities have said Nuzman helped direct about US$2 million to Papa Massata Diack to win votes to land last year’s Rio Olympics.

In the 2009 vote by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Lamine Diack — Papa Massata Diack’s father — was a powerful IOC member from Senegal with sway over Africa’s voting bloc.

The Rio Games, although a sporting success, left behind a half-dozen empty sports venues. The subsequent Paralympic Games needed a government bailout to be staged just weeks after the Olympics ended.

Nuzman’s local organizing committee still owes creditors between US$30 million and US$40 million, and many of the projects built for the Games are linked to corruption scandals blanketing Brazil.

The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice ordered Nuzman’s release, but his passports are being held — he reportedly holds three — and he cannot leave the country. He is also barred from contact with the IOC, the Brazilian Olympic Committee and the local organizing committee.

He last week resigned from the Brazilian Olympic Committee and his honorary membership has been suspended by the IOC.

The filings against Nuzman say he has undeclared assets in Switzerland, including 16 1kg gold bars.

Prosecutors have estimated that his net worth increased 457 percent in his final 10 years as the Brazilian Olympic Committee president.

He headed that body for 22 years and also headed Rio’s 2007 Pan American Games.

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