The head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, Carlos Nuzman, has been arrested over his alleged role in a vote-buying scheme related to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
In a police operation carried out early on Thursday, Nuzman and Leonardo Gryner, director general of operations for the committee, were arrested over their alleged role in behind-the-scenes dealings to secure last year’s Olympics Games in the Brazilian city.
The two could face heavy charges for the dealings, which Brazilian officials said amounted to a “criminal organization.”
Brazilian police said Nuzman’s arrest was over his suspected involvement in corruption and money laundering.
Some 20 police officers contributed to his arrest in Rio, which was ordered by a federal judge. Sensitive documents were also seized from Nuzman’s office, police said.
Nuzman, 75, is accused of channeling $2 million to Lamine Diack, a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who reportedly helped secure votes needed to support Rio’s bid for hosting the games in 2009.
Former Rio governor Sergio Cabral, who is now behind bars for bribery and money laundering, is believed to have financed the money which reportedly ended up in the hands of Diack’s son and helped Rio beat Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo to win the 2016 Games.
However, Nuzman, an honorary member of the IOC, played a huge role in winning the games for Brazil. He was detained and questioned by Brazilian and French authorities last month as part of investigations dubbed “Unfair Play” spanning several countries.
Officials said at the time that Nuzman was the “lynchpin” in the plot to bribe the IOC into awarding the games to Rio.