In the latest controversy coming out of Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Attorney General has launched an investigation into an alleged bribing scheme among lawmakers and construction companies related to the 2016 Olympic Games.
Rodrigo Janot, Brazil’s Attorney General, is probing into claims that Eduardo Cunha, a speaker in Brazil’s two-chamber legislature, received approximately 1.9 million Brazilian reals ($475,000) from OAS, a construction company hired to build the BMX, canoeing and mountain bike venues in Deodoro. OAS was also part of the team who worked on the 8 billion reals ($2 billion) renovation of Rio’s port, high-speed bus lanes, as well as endeavors to clean the polluted waters in Barra da Tijuca.
In the bribing situation, Janot alleges that Cunha spearheaded legislation that would render all of the Olympic-related construction works, as well as imports necessary for the buildings, as ‘tax exempt’. The status would result in tax breaks to the tune of about 3.8 billion reals ($1 billion) for OAS.
Janot also said Cunha used “his position as a lawmaker to craft business-friendly legislation that was against the public interest.” He described Cunha and an OAS executive of being “part of a criminal organization.”
According to the report, “At least since 2012, Eduardo Cunha has been illegally acting on the behalf of corporations, ‘selling’ legislation to benefit them. That shows he can no longer remain in office.”
Cunha has called the allegations “ridiculous” in comments to local media, while OAS refused to comment.
Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee President, has indicated that his organization would indeed begin auditing funds given to international federations, Olympic organizing committee and National Olympic bodies. Thus far, Rio organizers has received approximately $1.5 billion from the IOC for the production of the 2016 Olympic Games.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Rio Olympic organizing committee, Sidney Levy, has repeatedly said that the Games would be corruption-free and serve as an example of how business in the nation of Brazil can be conducted genuinely.