Pound wants action with 'teeth' in Rio vote-buying case
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP):
A top International Olympic Committee member wants his organisation to act with "more teeth" in response to a vote-buying scheme to land last year's Rio Olympics. Richard Pound says the Olympic body is taking "hit after hit in the eyes of the world."
Carlos Nuzman, an IOC member who headed the organising committee for Rio, was held for police questioning this week.
The graft inquiry could overshadow the IOC meetings next week in Lima, Peru, where the Summer Games will be awarded to Paris for 2024 and to Los Angeles for 2028.
Pound, a Canadian and the longest-serving 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 members is offside or several members are offside."
The IOC has said it was waiting to be "fully informed" before it acts on Nuzman. 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 medallist Frank Fredericks. The former sprinter from Namibia has said a US$300,000 payment he received from 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. He has denied wrongdoing, and the IOC says it respects the "presumption of innocence."
A year after the Rio Olympics ended, most of the sports venues are "white elephants," with reports Brazil spent as much as $20 billion in private and public money for organising South America's first Olympics.