Nuzman formally resigns from COB as 'athletes across Brazil celebrate'
By Callum Murray
Carlos Nuzman, the beleaguered former president of the COB, the Brazilian Olympic committee, and former chair of the Rio 2016 organising committee, who is being held on corruption and money-laundering charges relating to Rio’s hosting of last year’s Olympic Games, has formally resigned from the COB in a letter sent from his prison cell.
In the letter, which was read out to the COB’s general assembly by his lawyer, Nuzman said: “Given the necessity to totally dedicate myself to my right to defend myself, I resign completely from my position as Brazilian Olympic Committee chairman and as honorary member of the general assembly.”
Paulo Wanderley has taken over as the COB’s president and there will be elections for vice president. Meanwhile, a commission was formed to propose new democratic by-laws for the COB within 45 days.
During the general assembly, athletes held a protest demanding immediate direct elections and against corruption in sports. One prominent Nuzman critic said that athletes across Brazil “are celebrating Nuzman's end in social media, such as when a dictator is finally defeated.”
Nuzman, who had already issued a statement announcing his resignation, is facing questioning over allegations that a bribe of $2 million was paid ahead of voting to select Rio as the host city for last year’s Olympics. The probe, dubbed 'Operation Unfair Play', is being conducted in conjunction with US and French police.
Nuzman and Leonardo Gryner, the organising committee’s director general, were arrested last Thursday, prompting the International Olympic Committee to take action, which included suspending Nuzman’s honorary IOC membership, removing him from the co-ordination commission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and suspending the COB.
Last month, Nuzman’s home was raided over his suspected involvement in allegations that Sergio Cabral, the former governor of Rio, and businessman Arthur César de Menezes Soares Filho together paid $2 million to Lamine Diack, the former president of the IAAF and at the time an IOC member, in return for his vote for Rio to host the Olympics.
The payment to Diack was arranged through his now-notorious son Papa Massata Diack, according to Brazilian prosecutors. A warrant was issued for Soares’ arrest, while Nuzman’s passport was confiscated.