Olympic Committee suspends Brazilian arm after chief’s arrest over corruption

Operation Unfair Play

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended its Brazilian arm amid an investigation into corruption and money laundering allegations.

The head of Brazil’s Olympic committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, has also been suspended as an honorary member. Nuzman was arrested on Thursday and is being investigated for conspiring to bribe members of the IOC to pick Rio de Janeiro as host of the 2016 games.

He denies all wrongdoing.

The IOC said Brazil’s athletes would not be affected and they will continue to be paid. They will also still be allowed to compete in the Winter Games in South Korea in February.

Leonardo Gryner, the Brazilian committee’s director general, was also arrested on Thursday.

The inquiry – known as Operation Unfair Play – is being conducted in conjunction with French and US police.

Brazilian prosecutors believe Nuzman acted as an intermediary in an alleged US$2m (£1.5m) payment to Papa Massata Diack, the son of an influential Senegalese member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Mr Nuzman, 72, led the committee from 1995 and headed Rio’s successful bid to host the 2016 Games.

In June, former Rio State Governor Sergio Cabral was jailed for 14 years after participating in the embezzlement of $64m from construction contracts, including the renovation of Rio’s Maracana stadium, where the 2016 opening and closing ceremonies were held.

French prosecutors announced last year that they were widening their investigation into corruption in athletics to include the bidding-and-voting processes for the hosting of the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.