Former CBDA President Coaracy Nunes is subject of a new fraud investigation for decisions made during his tenure as the leader of Brazilian aquatic sports. Nunes was first removed as the President of the Brazilian Confederation of Aquatic Sports (CBDA) in October of 2016 and later fined $20,000 for inappropriate use of CBDA funds. Now, it is alleged that Nunes and others purposely exaggerated the cost of athletes’ travel and lodging in order to “justify a surplus demand for public resources.”
Central to the investigation are the travel itineraries of Brazilian Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Cesar Cielo. The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF) cites a trip Cielo took from Belo Horizonte (Brazil) to Lyon (France) for a competition. Instead of flying directly, or as directly as possible with fewest layovers, the MPF notes that Cielo was subjected to making six different flights, including stopping in Rio and Paris, for a total cost of 17,674.26 Brazilian Reales. However, according to the MPF, the journey from Belo Horizonte to Lyon ought to have only cost between 3.4 thousand and 5.5 thousand Brazlian Reales. Expenditures such as these were used to justify a larger allotment of public funds.
While the MPF notes the inappropriate nature of such schedules, it does not, however, bring up this peculiarly unscrupulous practice in its federal case against the CBDA. Rather, the MPF has directed its focus on the relationship the CBDA had with a tourism and travel agency known as Roxy, which was hired to book athlete and team travel and lodging for major competition.
Aside from inflating transportation costs to receive a larger budget, it is alleged that the CBDA did not hire Roxy through a legitimate bidding process, and instead only invited other agencies to bid so as to appear consistent with the standards expected of an agency that is run with public tax dollars.
Though Nunes is chief among those being charged in the investigation, three other former CBDA officials are also named: Ricardo de Moura, former managing director; Ricardo Cabral, former water polo coordinator; and Sérgio Lins Alvarenga, former financial director. Additionally, two non-CBDA businessmen are named in the investigation: Michael Wernie, a former managing partner at Roxy, and Flávio Correa, managing partner of F2 Viagens e Turismo Ltda., one of the ghost agencies involved in fraudulent bid process to hire Roxy. It is alleged that over the last five years Roxy received upwards of 23 million Brazilian Reales from the CBDA.