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Police raid Rio 2016 site in corruption investigation

Rio 2016 has maintained that development work will be unaffected at the Deodoro cluster for the Olympic and Paralympic Games after federal police staged raids at the site connected to an ongoing investigation into potential corruption at Games-related infrastructure projects.

Federal police told the Reuters news agency that they had carried out search warrants yesterday (Tuesday) at the on-site office for the consortium made up of privately owned Brazilian construction firms OAS SA and Queiroz Galvao.

They seized computers, documents, pen drives and other storage devices and also raided the offices of two companies they did not name, who worked with the consortium. Prosecutors have said they have so far uncovered at least R$128m (€32m/$35.6m) in money diverted from federal funding for the Olympics project, accounted for in earth-moving works that either did not happen or were fraudulently overcharged.

“Representatives of the consortium and authorities from the mayor's office are giving us contradictory information about what happened,” federal prosecutor Fernando Aguiar, part of a Rio-based anti-corruption team, told Reuters. “We don't know where the money or the dirt went.”

The office of Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said it was following the investigation at Deodoro and that all payments to the consortium remained suspended until the probe is completed. Last month, federal prosecutors said they were targeting every Olympics project that used federal funds, which includes works and services at the Olympic Park and the Deodoro cluster.

Mario Andrada, a spokesman for the Rio 2016 organising committee, said both Rio 2016 and City Hall demand transparency from construction firms, adding the investigation would not adversely affect work at Deodoro or its readiness for the Games. “If the companies did anything wrong, they will have to respond to the law,” Andrada said.

Deodoro is Rio 2016’s second-largest Olympic cluster with nine venues being built at a cost of R$800m. The complex consists of the Aquatic Centre, Equestrian Centre, Hockey Centre and Shooting Centre, as well as the Deodoro Stadium, which will host modern pentathlon and rugby sevens, and the Youth Arena, which will stage basketball and modern pentathlon.

The X-Park, which includes the Whitewater Stadium, Mountain Bike Centre and BMX Centre, is also included in the Deodoro zone.