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Ryan Lochte can be prosecuted in Rio Olympic case, Brazil court rules

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SAO PAULO (AP) — The prosecution of U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte for filing a false police report during the Rio Olympics is back on after a Brazilian court decision this week.

During the Games, the 12-time Olympic medalist told NBC that he and fellow swimmers were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by men with police badges as they returned to the Olympic Village from a party.

But prosecutors said Lochte invented the story to cover up the swimmers’ vandalism of a gas station and an ensuing confrontation with security guards. The confrontation was captured by surveillance cameras at the gas station.

Lochte later acknowledged he was intoxicated at the time and his behavior led to the confrontation.

The initial claim appeared to confirm widespread fears before the Olympics that the event would be marred by rising crime rates in Rio de Janeiro, which has long struggled with violence. As Lochte’s version of events began to shift, many Brazilians became annoyed that a false story about crime drew so much attention, when the city had hosted the games without major problems.

The scandal drew international headlines and grew to overshadow the final days of the games. Lochte ended up serving a 10-month suspension from the U.S. national swim team for his behavior.

Last year, a court dismissed the case against Lochte, but the Superior Court of Justice reversed that decision Tuesday. Prosecutor Rodrigo de Almeida Maia said Thursday that the next step is for Lochte’s lawyers to present their defense. Lochte does not have to appear in person to defend himself, de Almeida Maia said.

Steve Lochte, the swimmer’s father, said by telephone that he had no comment and directed questions to his son or his son’s lawyers.

Jeff Ostrow, a lawyer who has represented Lochte in the past, did not immediately respond to an email and a voicemail message seeking comment. It was not clear if he would represent Lochte in this case.

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Rio Olympic boss formally charged with corruption

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Rio Olympics, has been charged by Brazilian prosecutors with corruption, money laundering, tax evasion and running a criminal organization.

Brazilian prosecutors announced the formal charges on Wednesday.

The 75-year-old Nuzman was arrested two weeks ago and is being held in prison. Prosecutors also filed corruption charges against Nuzman’s right-hand man, Leonardo Gryner.

Brazilian and French authorities say Nuzman helped pay $2 million to Papa Massata Diack to win votes to stage the 2016 Olympics.

In the vote in 2009 to pick the host city, his father, Lamine Diack, was a powerful IOC member from Senegal with sway over the African voting bloc.

Nuzman resigned last week as the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. He has denied any wrongdoing.

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Brazil Olympic boss sends resignation letter from jail

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Carlos Nuzman sent his resignation letter as head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee from a prison on Wednesday.

He’s been held there since last week amid an investigation into a vote-buying scheme to bring the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.

The National Olympic Committee immediately designated vice president Paulo Wanderley to replace Nuzman, who had headed the BOC for 22 years. Wanderley will serve the three years remaining on Nuzman’s term.

Speaking after meeting with the BOC’s membership, Wanderley described Nuzman’s resignation as “a relief.”

“The resignation of the president, on a personal level, I think will speed up resolving our problems,” he said.

Nuzman, who also headed the Rio Olympics, had already been suspended as a member by the International Olympic Committee.

Nuzman’s arrest has further tarnished last year’s games, which were plagued budget cuts, spotty attendance, and reports of endemic corruption. They also left behind a half-dozen “white elephant” sports venues.

Brazil officially spent $13 billion to put on the games. A year after, the organizing committee still owes creditors between $30-40 million.

Wanderley said “all of us were taken by surprise” by Nuzman’s arrest and allegations he helped channel at least $2 million to Lamine Diack, a former IOC member from Senegal.

Brazilian and French investigators also said Nuzman had 16 kilos of gold — worth about $750,000 — stored in a depository.

Wanderley’s main job is to convince the IOC to lift Brazil’s suspension, which cuts of some its funding.

“”I will send answers to the IOC as soon as possible to all the questions they have asked us about,” Wanderley said, adding that he’d had a courtesy phone call recently with IOC President Thomas Bach.

As the Olympic body met inside its headquarters, a handful of protesters gathered outside. Many carried placards saying “Give the athletes a true vote.”

Luiz Lima, who quit several months ago as the No. 2 person in the federal sports ministry, was among those carrying a signboard.

Lima, an Olympic swimmer at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, said Brazilian athletes had “almost no power.” He said the 30 federations that make up the Brazilian Olympic Committee each have one vote in setting policy.

He said athletes as a collective have only one.

“This is only one vote in 31, which does not seem like any fair representation,” Lima.

Lima said Brazil’s national government gives the Brazilian Olympic Committee about 200 million reals ($65 million) yearly.

He said in his tenure in the sports ministry he pushed for giving athletes and federations the money directly, bypassing the BOC.

“That got little support and was one of the reasons I left,” he said.

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