Senior IOC member asks body to act in Nuzman graft case

September 08, 2017 - 3:53 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Senior International Olympic Committee member Richard Pound on Friday urged the body to act decisively in the case of Carlos Nuzman, the IOC member who was held for police questioning this week in a vote-buying scheme to land last year's Rio Olympics.

Nuzman also headed the organizing committee for Rio.

The graft inquiry could overshadow the IOC meetings next week in Lima, Peru, where it will name Paris host of the 2024 Summer Olympics and Los Angeles as the 2028 venue.

Pound of Canada, the longest severing IOC member, called the scandal surrounding Nuzman "a mess" and suggested the Brazilian should be asked to give up his membership.

"We need some more teeth in this because we are taking hit after hit in the eyes of the world and we're not seen to be doing anything," Pound told The Associated Press. "In fact, we probably aren't doing much other than waiting to see if somebody else tells us that one of our member is offside — or several members are offside."

The IOC said earlier in the week it was waiting to be "fully informed" before it acts on Nuzman's case. It did not reply to an email request Friday for an update on the case.

Nuzman was detained by police on Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro. French and Brazilian authorities say he was a central figure in channeling $2 million to Lamine Diack through a Caribbean account held by his son, Papa Massata Diack.

The elder Diack is a former IOC member from Senegal who was a force in the IOC African bloc.

The widening case has also implicated four-time Olympic medalist Frank Fredericks. The former sprinter from Namibia has said a $300,000 payment he received via Diack's son on the day Rio won the vote was for legitimate consultancy work.

Fredericks, an IOC member, lost his place on an IOC inspection team to visit Paris and Los Angeles.

Fredericks has denied wrongdoing and the IOC says it respects the principle of "presumption of innocence."

News reports in Brazil said police found $150,000 in cash in Nuzman's home in Rio, reportedly split into five different currencies. His passports were also seized.

Pound said there were consistent reports that Nuzman was a poor leader of the Rio Olympics, which he said turned "into manure" with organizational problems and budget shortfalls.

He said there were no reports of financial corruption connected the Brazilian.

"There were clearly all kind of complaints about him, about his conduct coming out of Brazil and going to the IOC," Pound said. "I remember because I got copied on some of them. So the fact there was smoke or concern, it must have been pretty obvious."

Pound said many of the problems with the Rio games "were not solved by him (Nuzman), but created by him."

A year after the Rio Olympics ended , most of the sporting venues are "white elephants" with reports Brazil spent as much as $20 billion in private and public money or organize South America's first Games.

Michael Payne, the former IOC head of marketing, told AP that "few are very surprised" about Nuzman's detention.

Payne, now a consultant, worked on the early stages of the Rio Olympics. He said he had no hint of corruption, but warned the Brazil games would continue as a distraction.

"It will be a little difficult for the IOC to move on from the Rio legacy because you keep being brought back to it," Payne said.

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Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP

His work can be found at: https://apnews.com/search/stephen%20wade

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