President of Brazil’s Olympic Committee Carlos Arthur Nuzman (left) and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach visit Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Jan. 22, 2014. | Associated Press file photo
Carlos Arthur Nuzman was on the International Olympic Committee when his colleagues were allegedly bribed in the vote that awarded the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro over several cities, including Chicago. Nuzman will remain free while he appeals.
SAO PAULO — Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee for more than two decades, was sentenced to 30 years and 11 months in jail for buying votes for Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympics.
The ruling by Judge Marcelo Bretas became public Thursday.
Nuzman, who also headed the Rio organizing committee, was found guilty of corruption, criminal organization, money laundering and tax evasion.
The 79-year-old executive, who was an IOC member for 12 years including at the time his colleagues were allegedly bribed in the 2009 vote, won’t be jailed until all his appeals are heard.
He and his lawyer did not comment on the decision.
Bretas also sentenced to jail former Rio Gov. Sergio Cabral, businessman Arthur Soares and Leonardo Gryner, who was the Rio committee director general of operations. Investigators say all three and Nuzman coordinated to bribe the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack, and his son Papa Massata Diack for votes.
Cabral, who has been in jail since 2016 and faces other convictions and investigations, told Bretas two years ago he paid about $2 million in exchange for up to six votes in the International Olympic Committee meeting that awarded Rio the Olympic and Paralympic Games. He said the money came from a debt owed to him by Soares.
Cabral, who governed Rio state from 2003-10, added that another $500,000 was paid later to Diack’s son with the aim of securing three more votes of IOC members. Lamine Diack was a senior IOC member at the time
Bretas’ ruling labels Nuzman as “one of the main responsibles for the promotion and the organization of the criminal scheme, given his position in the Brazilian Olympic Committee and before international authorities.” The judge also said the sports executive “headed and coordinated action of the other agents, clearly as a leader” to illegally garnish support at the IOC.
The judge said he will send the results of the investigation to authorities in Senegal, where Papa Massata Diack and Lamine Diack live, and France. A French court in 2020 sentenced Lamine Diack to two years in jail for corruption while leading track and field. Now 88, Diack returned to Senegal in May.
Rio’s bid beat Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid to host the 2016 Games. The vote was held in Copenhagen, where then-President Barack Obama had traveled to campaign for his home city Chicago. Many years later, while still in office, Obama hinted at possible corruption in sports when he described the 2016 Olympic vote as “a little bit cooked.”
The investigation in Brazil began in 2017 after French newspaper Le Monde found members of the IOC had been bribed three days before the vote.
In 2017, the IOC suspended Nuzman’s honorary membership.
“Now, the IOC ethics commission will study the judgement against Mr. Nuzman and will make its recommendations as soon as it receives the full information from the Brazilian authorities,” the IOC said on Friday in a statement.
AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this report