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Bribery claims Switzerland assists Olympic corruption probe

Swiss-based assets have been linked to Rio Games bribery allegations

(Keystone)

The Swiss authorities are evaluating a request for legal assistance from Brazilian prosecutors investigating allegations of Olympic Games bribery. Brazil’s Olympics head Carlos Nuzman has been arrested in Brazil for alleged bribery to win the bid for the 2016 Games.

The Swiss Attorney General’s office confirmed that the Swiss Justice Ministry had passed on a Brazilian request for legal assistance lodged on September 28.

“The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) confirms it has today received a request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) from Brazil in this context. The OAG is currently analyzing the MLA request in order to evaluate if it can be executed,” it said in a statement to swissinfo.ch on Friday.

Neither the OAG or justice ministry would give details regarding the request, or whether Switzerland has been asked to freeze bank accounts or other assets of the accused parties.

Gold bars

According to Brazilian prosecutors, Carlos Nuzman hid 16 one-kilogram bars of gold in Switzerland – now worth some $700,000 (CHF686,000). 

“While Olympic medallists sought to realise the dream of gold medals, the heads of the Olympic committee hid their gold in Switzerland,” the Wall Street Journal newspaper quoted Brazilian federal prosecutor Fabiana Schneider from a televised press conference.

Nuzman is alleged to have owned up to the undeclared gold bar stash after police raided his home last month. He was arrested in Brazil on Thursday along with Leonardo Gryner, another local Olympic committee official, as part of an investigation known as ‘Operation Unfair Play’. 

It has also been reported in the Brazilian press that former Rio State Governor Sergio Cabral, who was in June jailed for 14 years for embezzlement in connection to the Rio Games scandal, also has assets stashed away in Switzerland.

“As a standing rule, the OAG does not communicate on physical persons or companies possibly involved or not involved in the OAG’s criminal proceedings,” the OAG added in its statement.

Global probe

The Brazilian authorities are cooperating with their United States and French counterparts to probe claims that Nuzman paid millions of dollars to International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials to secure the 2016 Games for Rio. All parties have denied the allegations.

The Lausanne-based IOC said it is cooperating with the investigation, but stressed that innocence must be presumed until guilt is proven.

French prosecutors are also investigating the awarding of the 2020 Olympic Games to Tokyo.

swissinfo.ch

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