Former Rio Governor Describes Extensive Bribery in Bid for 2016 Olympics
“Nuzman told me Papa Diack said he could get more votes. He said we could reach nine votes in total, but he needed another $500,000. I told him it would be done,” Cabral said, in testimony that was first reported by the Brazilian news media and later confirmed by his attorney.
Nuzman’s lawyer, Joao Francisco Neto, told reporters that Cabral had provided no evidence to support his claims and suggested that he was hoping to reduce his 200-year sentence. “Even if that had happened, corporate corruption is not a crime in Brazil,” Francisco Neto said.
Cabral’s lawyer, Marcio Delambert, said in an email that his client was being truthful and that the other defendants were emphasizing his 200-year sentence in an effort to discredit him.
In his testimony, Cabral also said that a former Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was convicted of corruption and money laundering in 2017, and Eduardo Paes, who was mayor during the bid for the Games, had been aware of the bribery scheme but had not participated directly.
In comments to the Brazilian news media, a representative of da Silva, widely known as Lula, denied the claim. Paes told the Folha do São Paulo newspaper that he had been unaware of any bribery scheme and had never spoken to Cabral about the matter.
Cabral, who in a previous deposition had denied involvement in the bribery plot, said the nine votes were crucial to securing Rio’s passage through the first round of voting, in which it received 25 votes, just 10 more than Chicago. It maintained a big lead in the following rounds, eventually defeating Madrid by 66 to 32 in a final vote.
“It was essential to have the guarantee of these votes,” Cabral said.
The accusations heaped more embarrassment on the International Olympic Committee, which has overhauled the way it picks host cities in the aftermath of multiple bribery allegations, as well as a series of referendums that forced several candidate cities to withdraw their bids.