RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – (Reuters) The former governor of Rio de Janeiro state said in court testimony on Thursday, June 4th, that he paid US$2 million to buy votes to ensure the Brazilian seaside city would be chosen to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
Sérgio Cabral told a judge the money went to Lamine Diack, the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and was used to buy as many as nine votes. It was not immediately possible to reach Diack or his legal team on Thursday night.
The head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and the main organizer of the bid, Arthur Nuzman, introduced a representative of Rio 2016 to Diack and asked him to make the payments ahead of the 2009 vote that saw Rio win out over Madrid, Chicago, and Tokyo, Cabral told a federal judge.
“Nuzman came to me and said, Sergio, I want to tell you about the president of the International Athletics Federation, IAAF, Lamine Diack, he’s someone who is open to taking bribes,” Cabral said.
Prosecutors in Brazil charged Nuzman in October 2017 with paying the US$2 million in bribes to secure Rio as the 2016 Olympics host city. That trial is ongoing. He has said he is innocent and his lawyers repeated that on Thursday.
Diack was also charged by Brazilian prosecutors. He said at the time he was innocent.
Sérgio Cabral is a man With Considerable Criminal Energy
Only recently, Rio ex-Governor Sérgio Cabral was accused of charging five percent on every contract awarded to the corrupt and now bankrupt Odebrecht construction company, including those for restoring the Maracanã stadium and the Coperj railroad.
On November 17, 2016, the Federal Police of Brazil arrested Sérgio Cabral and seven other persons (including former secretaries of his government), as part of Operation Car Wash.
He was accused of embezzling R$224 million (US$58) million. On December 6, 2016, the court heard charges filed by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF), then charged Sérgio Cabral with corruption, racketeering, and money laundering.
In February 2017, the MPF-RJ accused Cabral of taking part in Operation Efficiency, another operation connected to Operation Car Wash.
On June 13th, 2017, he was sentenced to fourteen years and two months of imprisonment for passive corruption and money laundering. On September 20th, 2017, he was sentenced to an additional 45 years imprisonment for embezzlement.
On July 3, 2018, within the scope of the Car Wash probe, failed Brazilian businessman Eike Batista was convicted of bribing Cabral for state government contracts, paying him US$16.6 million.
Held at the Gericinó penitentiary in Bangu, Rio de Janeiro, Batista was sentenced to thirty years of imprisonment — Brazilian law limits sentences to thirty years.