Noose tightens around IOC after Brazil raids

The Opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics, 21 August 2016.
The Opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics, 21 August 2016. Reuters/Fernando Donasci

Brazilian police carried out several raids on Tuesday, including one on the house of Olympic Chief Carlos Nuzman, over allegations he bribed the IOC to host the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.


Brazil's federal police and French officials, including well-known French anti-corruption Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke, were spotted outside the home of Carlos Nuzman in Rio's posh seaside Leblon neighborhood on Tuesday, one of 11 sites to be searched.

Nuzman himself was seen leaving by car, as police left his house carrying sacks of evidence.

Brazil's Olympics chief is said to be directly implicated in an "international corruption scheme" dubbed Unfair Play, in which members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were paid over one million euros in bribes to vote for Rio to host last year's Olympic Games.

The payment was made to Papa Massata Diack, whose father Lamine Diack was head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at the time.

Rio games tarnished

"I think one has to stand back and take a view that the IOC is past its sell by date," Andrew Jennings, author of The Great Olympic Swindle, a damning expose about the corruption behind the Olympic Games, told RFI.

"They're desperately looking for corrupt governments who are controlled by devious people in order to get their games on."

The Rio games, initially credited with being a sporting and organisational success, have since been tarnished by revelations of massive corruption.

Rio governor jailed

In June former Rio governor Sergio Cabral was sentenced to 14 years prison. He was convicted of bribery and money laundering, including participation in the embezzlement of 220 million reals (66 million euros) from public works projects such as Rio's iconic Maracana football stadium.

Tuesday's probe into the alleged vote buying started nine months ago, Brazilian police confirmed, adding that they'd sought the help of France and the United States.

France gears up for 2024

Timing-wise, the corruption probe comes just as France gears up to host the 2024 games. Jennings hopes events in Brazil will make the French public think twice about hosting the Games.

"Too often governments race way ahead of public opinion and put the whole country up for sale," he comments. "And really the French people ought to stop and think what is the IOC? Do you ever see any elections of the IOC? Of course not! They only choose people like themselves. There's absolutely no guarantee of probity."

Nuzman, responsible for bringing the Olympic Games to Rio - making it the first South American country to do so - was due to be questioned later on Tuesday.

"Congratulations to Brazilians," concludes Jennings, "it's time that somebody had the courage which none of the Europeans seem to have to stand up to the IOC."

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