(ATR) The trial against Carlos Arthur Nuzman for allegedly buying votes for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic bid enters its final stretch.
More than 20 witnesses called in to testify by lawyers for the former president of the Organizing Committee of Rio 2016 have already appeared before Judge Marcelo Bretas. That includes two members of the International Olympic Committee.
The Moroccan Nawal El Moutawakel, an effective member of the IOC, and the Ivorian Lassana Palenfo, honorary member of the organization, are among those to offer their testimony in a Rio de Janeiro court.
Both spoke in French through video conferences on different days. El Moutawakel did it from the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland while Palenfo spoke from his residence in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital.
No other IOC member or official testified at the trial.
El Moutawakel and Palenfo said they were unaware of the alleged purchase of African votes for the election of the Brazilian Olympic venue in October 2009 during the IOC Session in Copenhagen, Denmark.
At that time, El Moutawakel was the chair of the Commission for the Evaluation of Candidate Cities for the 2016 Olympic Games, while Palenfo served as president of the Association of National Olympic Committees from Africa.
Nuzman, former president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, is accused along with former Rio governor Sergio Cabral and former Rio 2016 director Leonardo Gryner of paying $2 million to then IOC member Lamine Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack to secure the votes from Africa.
Around The Rings learned that probably in September the three defendants testify in front of the magistrate.
The first to testify will be Cabral followed by Nuzman,according to a source close to the case.
Nuzman has been suspended as honorary member of the IOC since he was arrested last October and released shortly after with restrictions. He is currently finishing a book on "Interiorities" of the Olympic candidacy process, according to the O Globo newspaper.
Prior to the statements of the IOC representatives, the legendary footballer Pelé and former Brazilian president Lula da Silva, emblematic figures in the Pro Rio 2016 Commission, were also heard in the trial also on Skype. Both have said they did not know anything about the possible existence of bribes in the Olympic race.
Rio defeated Madrid 66 votes to 32 in the third round of the Copenhagen elections, after Chicago and Tokyo were eliminated in earlier rounds.
Homepage photo: Wikimedia
Reported by Miguel Hernandez.