Carlos Nuzman Denies Corruption in Rio Court

(ATR) Former Rio 2016 and Brazilian Olympic Committee president testifies at his trial.

(ATR) Carlos Arthur Nuzman denies accusations of having participated in a scheme to buy votes from African members of the International Olympic Committee.

The former president of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee and the Brazilian Olympic Committee was interrogated by Judge Marcelo Bretas along with two representatives of the Public Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday.

All three main defendants in this process - Nuzman, the former governor of Rio de Janeiro Sergio Cabral, and the former director of operations of Rio 2016, Leonardo Gryner - have now been heard by the Rio de Janeiro court.

Nuzman is suspected by the Public Ministry of being the main intermediary between the businessman Arthur Soares and the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack, in a supposed vote buying of African IOC members in awarding Rio de Janeiro the 2016 Summer Games.

The Prosecutor's Office says it has verified transactions of $2 million from accounts of a Soares company to firms of Papa Massata Diack, son of Lamine Diack.

The questions from prosecutors to Nuzman on Wednesday were aimed at confirming evidence of corruption in the process of the Olympic bid and to clear up contrasting versions given by the other defendants and witnesses.

Prosecutors asked Nuzman about Diack's offer to conduct a series of athletics events in Brazil to promote the Olympic candidacy in exchange for payments.

Nuzman said he never talked to Diack about money and buying votes for those competitions. He clarified that with Gryner he only maintained "professional relations".

The former president of the COB said he was unaware of the content claims of emails sent to him by Papa Massata about pending payments related to a "commitment in Copenhagen." The capital of Denmark hosted the IOC Session held in October 2009 where Rio was chosen as the 2016 Olympic site.

He acknowledged that he received that e-mail but denied knowing what it was and that he told his advisor about it at the time.

For Brazilian Justice authorities, Nuzman and the purchase of votes were part of a scheme of corruption attributed to Cabral. Prosecutors say Cabral was in contact with businessman Soares, known as "King Arthur".

Nuzman said he was never in contact with Soares. He clarified that he was not a friend of Cabral's either.

Prosecutors from the MP interrogated Nuzman insistently about the 16 gold bars found in his house.

The former president of Rio 2016 clarified that he cooperated openly with the federal agents when they came to his house.

He said that he converted funds that he had abroad since the end of the 1980s into goldin 2014.

Nuzman appeared at the trial with several folders full of documents about the process of Rio's Olympic candidacy.

His papers documented the "normal" and "natural" in the Olympic world, including a series of trips, elections to positions, and contacts with international federations and other personalities in the effort to first win an Olympic Games for Rio and then organize it.

Nuzman's lawyers tried to prove that all of his actions complied with the established rules and reiterated his innocence.

The prosecutors asked Nuzman how someone of such mastery of the different subjects of the Olympic Movement was not able to notice irregularities.

"I have nothing to hide," said the former Olympic leader.

Nuzman was briefly imprisoned in October 2017 but was released by decision of the Superior Court of Justice. He is under several restrictions, including not being able to travel out of the country.

Shortly after his arrest he self-suspended his honorary IOC.membership.

The trial is moving to a conclusion. Prosecutors and defense lawyers will each have 10 days for "final test orders" before the judge rules on the case.

Written by Miguel Hernandez

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