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Corrupt, but not corrupt enough

Published on November 27th, 2021

An annual report from the University of Illinois at Chicago, based on an analysis of the public corruption statistics published by the U.S. Department of Justice, finds Chicago as America’s most corrupt city, and Illinois the third-most corrupt state. But, apparently, not corrupt enough.

When the Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics was unsuccessful, losing out alongside Madrid and Tokyo to Rio de Janeiro, it was a result of a massive corruption plot by the Brazilians to buy the selection.

The legacy from the Rio 2016 Games is mostly sadness. The total amount spent was a little over 39 billion Brazilian real (around $7.4bn today). Stadiums are unused and decaying. Projects to improve quality of life became promises unkept. And now public officials are to be imprisoned for their efforts.

Former Rio 2016 and Brazilian Olympic Committee President Carlos Nuzman has been sentenced to 30 years and 11 months in jail for buying votes for the Brazilian city’s successful bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Nuzman was found guilty of corruption, criminal organization, money laundering and tax evasion in a decision announced by judge Marcelo Bretas, head of the 7th Federal Criminal Court in Rio de Janeiro.

The 79-year-old, a former volleyball player who represented Brazil at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, will not be jailed until the appeals process has been completed.

Former Rio de Janeiro Governor Sérgio Cabral and Leonardo Gryner, the former director general of Rio 2016, were also sentenced to prison terms.

In his testimony, Cabral also said that a former Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, convicted of corruption and money laundering in 2017, and Eduardo Paes, the Rio de Janeiro Mayor during the bid for the Games, had been aware of the bribery scheme but had not participated directly.

Cabral, who has been in jail since 2016 serving a 200-year prison sentence for fraud and corruption, told Bretas two years ago he had paid about $2 million in exchange for up to six votes for Rio from IOC members. – Full report

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