Brazil Olympics Boss Arrested With Gold Bars in Swiss Bank

  • Nuzman allegedly participated in scheme to bring Games to Rio
  • Legacy of Rio Games widely criticized amid fiscal crisis

Carlos Nuzman is escorted from his home by federal police officers in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 5.

Photographer: Mauro Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

The head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee was arrested on Thursday as part of an investigation into an alleged vote-buying scheme to bring the games to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Carlos Nuzman was among the targets of a federal police operation that carried out two temporary arrest orders and six search warrants, according to a police statement. He had already been detained for questioning a month ago during the same investigation.

Press officers for the Brazilian Olympic Committee and for Nuzman weren’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Bloomberg. His lawyer told O Globo newspaper that the arrest was “unnecessary, abusive and illegal.”

Rio was chosen in 2009 to host the Olympics, following an intense campaign by then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Initially celebrated by Brazilians as a sign of the country’s rising fortunes, money spent at the Games subsequently fueled controversy as the economy nosedived. A number of corruption scandals have also tainted the Olympic legacy, and several of the newly-built sporting venues are now crumbling without use.

Prosecutors accuse Nuzman of facilitating a bribery payment to a member of the International Olympic Committee in exchange for his vote for Rio’s bid. The Brazilian city was chosen over Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago.

Nuzman’s net worth increased more than fourfold between 2006 and 2016 with no clear indication of his new sources of income, prosecutors said, adding that he also failed to declare assets abroad in a timely fashion, including 16 gold bars weighing a total of 35 pounds at a Swiss bank.

— With assistance by Leonardo Lara, Ana Carolina Siedschlag, and David Biller

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