2016 Olympics bribery scandal: Rio de Janiero ex-governor admits paying $2m to former IAAF chief

Sergio Cabral, the former governor of Rio de Janiero, admitted in court on Thursday to giving a $2m bribe to Lamine Diack, the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, to help the city secure the 2016 Olympics and Paralympic Games.

Prosecutors in Brazil have already charged Arthur Nuzman, the head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and main organiser of their hosting bid, in 2017. Nuzman maintains his innocence, and his trial is ongoing.

Cabral told Judge Marcelo Bretas he was instructed by Nuzman to make the bribe and, according to Reuters reports, said: “Nuzman came to me and said, Sergio, I want tell you about the president of the International Athletics Federation, IAAF, Lamine Diack, he’s someone who is open to taking bribes.”

“I said, Nuzman, what are our guarantees here? And he said, ‘traditionally he sells 4, 5, 6 votes. There is a risk that we don’t get through to the second round [of voting].”

Cabral said Diack guaranteed up to six votes for $1.5m and offered more votes if he was paid an extra US$500,000.

“We did it,” Cabral said.

Reports by USA Today said Cabral admitted using Leonardo Gryner, who was the Rio 2016 committee director-general of operations, to make payments of $1.5m and $500,000 to Lamine Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack.

Cabral is currently serving a sentence of just under 200 years imprisonment for corruption and money laundering, and made these statements at a defence hearing, part of a plea bargain to reduce the sentences for both him and his wife Adriana Ancelmo, who was also jailed for corruption.

In June, both Diack and Massata were charged in a French court for bribery and money-laundering involving international athletes and their federations.