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  • Nuzman Stuck in Jail, Gryner Free in Rio


    (ATR) Leonardo Gryner is out of jail for the first time in more than week. The chief operating officer for the Rio Olympics is facing charges over a scheme to bribe members of the IOC to vote for Rio to host the 2016 Olympics.

    Gryner and Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman were arrested two weeks ago and have been held under pre-trial detention. A judge allowed Gryner’s release after prosecutors received copies of emails they had been seeking for evidence from the Brazilian Olympic Committee.

    Emails already released by prosecutors appear to indicate that Gryner was an intermediary in the bribery scheme involving Lamine Diack, ex IOC member in Senegal and former IAAF President and his son, Papa Massata Diack.

    A November 2009 email from Gryner to Papa Massata Diack a month following the election of Rio at the Copenhagen IOC Session asked for patience as Rio sorts out payment details.

    “As I told you in Copenhagen, we have a different sponsor for that last portion. This sponsor is having problems with this transfer and we are trying to help him," Gryner writes in the email published in Brazilian media.

    Gryner's lawyers deny that be participated in any scheme to buy IOC votes. The lawyers insist the emails do not contain information that incriminates their client.

    Nuzman remains in custody with no date certain for a possible release. His habeas corpus motion was denied last week by a federal court, but the release of Gryner could offer some hope to Nuzman that he could be released.

    Prosecutors have targeted Nuzman as one of the ringleaders in the vote-buying scheme. They say more than $2 million was paid to Diack through off shore banking transactions. The money allegedly came from a Brazilian businessman who is being sought by authorities.
    Prosecutors say searches of Nuzman’s home found $140,000 in cash in various currencies along with records showing Nuzman has a stash of 16 bars of gold bullion in a Swiss bank vault. The gold could be worth more than $1 million.

    Leo Gryner was arrested at his home on Oct. 5. The investigation called Operation Unfair Play has received extensive press coverage. (Globo TV)
    Nuzman denies any wrongdoing.

    Resigned and suspended 

    Since his arrest Otober 5, Nuzman resigned his duties at Rio 2016 as well as his presidency of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. The IOC has suspended Nuzman as an honorary member, conferred when he retired at age 70 in 2012. He was also removed from his position as a member of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

    The IOC also suspended the Brazilian Olympic Committee pending resolution of the role the NOC may have played in the alleged bribery scheme.

    Last week Paulo Wanderley was elected to take over from Nuzman for the three years left of the term. President of the Brazilian Judo Federation, Wanderley was the top ranking vice president for the Brazilian NOC.

    He is said to planning a visit to IOC headquarters in Lausanne to review the situation. The suspension of the committee means payments due the NOC under Olympic Solidarity will be withheld. The IOC order will allow Brazilian athletes to compete under their national flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. But Brazil may not be able to participate in the annual general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees in Prague next month.

    The most costly of consequence of the IOC sanctions for Brazil is the official abrogation of any more assistance from Lausanne to help Rio 2016 cure its financial arrears. The organizing committee is reported to owe tens of millions to a range of businesses and individuals that must be paid before the books can close. Nuzman was reportedly trying to coax further assistance from the IOC before his arrest.

    Reported by Miguel Hernandez. For general comments or questions, click here.

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