SAO PAULO: Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee for more than two decades, was sentenced to 30 years and 11 months in jail for allegedly buying votes for Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympics.
The ruling by Judge Marcelo Bretas became public Thursday.
Nuzman, who also headed the Rio 2016 organizing committee, was found guilty of corruption, criminal organization, money laundering and tax evasion. The 79-year-old executive won't be jailed until all his appeals are heard.
He and his lawyer did not comment on the decision.
Bretas also sentenced to jail former Rio Gov. Sergio Cabral, businessman Arthur Soares and Leonardo Gryner, who was the Rio 2016 committee director-general of operations. Investigators say all three and Nuzman coordinated to bribe the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack, and his son Papa Diack for votes.
Cabral, who has been in jail since 2016 and faces a series of other convictions and investigations, told Bretas two years ago he had paid about $2 million in exchange for up to six votes in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting that awarded Rio the Olympic and Paralympic Games. He said the money had come from a debt owed to him by Soares.
Cabral, who governed Rio state between 2003 and 2010, added that another $500,000 was paid later to Diack’s son with the aim of securing three more votes of IOC members.
Bretas' ruling labels Nuzman as "one of the main responsibles for the promotion and the organization of the criminal scheme, given his position in the Brazilian Olympic Committee and before international authorities." The judge also said the sports executive "headed and coordinated action of the other agents, clearly as a leader” to illegally garnish support at the IOC.
The judge said he will send the results of the investigation to authorities in Senegal and France, where Papa Diack and Lamine Diack live, respectively.
Rio's bid beat Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid to host the 2016 Games.
The investigation in Brazil began in 2017 after French newspaper Le Monde found members of the IOC had been bribed three days before the 2009 session in Copenhagen where Rio was picked to host the Games.