Brazil’s Olympic Committee Head Is Detained in Bribe Inquiry

Brazil’s Olympic Committee Head Is Detained in Bribe Inquiry


Police officials also detained Leonardo Gryner, who was director of operations for the 2016 Rio Games. Prosecutors described him as Mr. Nuzman’s “right-hand man.”

Mr. Nuzman and Mr. Gryner have not yet been formally been charged. Both have denied wrongdoing.

Marcelo Bretas, the federal judge who ordered their arrest, determined that investigators had enough evidence to establish that the two men “acted directly and actively in an unlawful negotiation” to persuade members of the International Olympic Committee to back Brazil’s bid in 2009 to host the games in Rio de Janeiro, according to a court decision ordering their detention.

The Olympic committee’s selection of Rio de Janeiro, a first for a South American city, was a triumphant moment for Brazil. Its bid beat proposals from Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago.

The court decision includes copies of emails discussing bank transfers exchanged in late 2009 between Mr. Gryner and Papa Massata Diack of Senegal, who was then a member of the International Olympic Committee. Mr. Diack — the son of Lamine Diack, a former head of the global governing body of track and field — has been accused by French prosecutors of money laundering and corruption.

The emails suggest that the Brazilians did not pay bribes as promptly as they had promised.

Nearly two months after Rio’s selection was announced on Oct. 2, 2009, Mr. Gryner sent the elder Mr. Diack a message apologizing for the delay in “fulfilling the last portion of our agreement.” Mr. Gryner explained that the “sponsor” for “this last portion” of the agreement “is having problems with its transfer and we are trying to help them.”

Mr. Diack seemed irritated the next month as he pressed the Brazilians to pay up. In a Dec. 11 message sent to a Brazil Olympic Committee official, on which Mr. Nuzman and Mr. Gryner were copied, the Senegalese businessman sought assurances that the money would be wired to bank accounts in Dakar or Moscow. The signature block in the email noted that Mr. Diack was writing from room 2112 of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Singapore.

Prosecutors also say that Sérgio Cabral, the former governor of Rio de Janeiro State, played a key role in the plan to offer bribes to secure the Games. He was convicted on separate bribery and money laundering charges in June and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The authorities say the Olympics money came from Arthur César de Menezes Soares Filho, a Brazilian businessman who was given a 45-year sentence in a separate corruption case. Mr. Soares is the subject of an arrest order, but his whereabouts is unknown.



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