Rio’s Public Prosecutor Looking To Reopen Lochte Case

The infamous ‘Lochtegate’ scandal is a well known one by now. American Ryan Lochte, one of the most decorated Olympic swimmers in history, told news outlets that he and three teammates were robbed at gunpoint in Brazil after the end of the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, news quickly surfaced that the story was fabricated, and that the four swimmers had actually vandalized a gas station area and were thus asked to pay for the damage by security guards.

With the incident happening nearly two years ago, it was supposed to be over with. Lochte served his suspension from USA Swimming, and has since returned to competing. He won his defense in court, as he obtained a habeas corpus, claiming that he did not falsely communicate a crime since he did not report the alleged assault directly to the police.

However, it looks like the case may resurface. On Friday, May 11th, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Rio de Janeiro asked for the reopening of the case. The habeas corpus has not been tried by the Brazilian court, but it has nevertheless been requested to reopen. The MP has stated that Lochte’s actions brought serious negative repercussions to Brazil abroad, and that expenses were wasted in investigating a crime that didn’t really happen.

If convicted, Lochte could face 1-6 months in prison, or a fine. Read more about the re-opening, as reported in Portuguese, here and here.

Since the incident, Lochte has had a baby, and most notably competed at the U.S. Open Championships at the end of last summer. He’s expected to vie for a spot on the U.S. Pan Pacific and World Championship teams this summer.

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I think Brazil gave it a rest. Lochte ripped a poster worth less than $100. Overaggressive security guards held them at gunpoint and made them pay up, hence they were in a way “robbed.” Lochte made it sound 10x worse, and Brazil looked bad for a few days. Then the pendulum swung the other way, the general public thought Lochte & Co. vandalized a bathroom and confirmed every anti-American stereotype etc. Lochte was also fined something like 10 grand (and I think someone else was as well) which was like 100 times the value of the damage. Now Brazil is claiming Lochte made them waste resources investigating a “crime” that didn’t really happen and wasn’t reported, and wants to spend… Read more »


Ok, I’m Brazilian born in Rio and it is VERY VERY common for not only Americans but also (and specially) Europeans to come down here on vacations and act like is “no mans land” with no respect for our rules, culture, women and all… Unfortunately that’s what happens to you when you mess with someone else’s property over here… Specially a “gringo”. With all that being said… Yes, I believe people should’ve gotten over this episode already, Lochte had clearly made a very dumb decision but in the end of the day nobody got hurt and hopefully Ryan learned a lesson or two. As for right now I’m just looking forward to watch the good old Ryan Lochte racing and… Read more »

running start to touch backstroke flags

Rio was no man’s man long before this. Apparently it is slums and filth and the government keeps it that way. Brazilians themselves made it no man’s land. It just seems disrespectful when foreigners vandalize, just like Brazilians do. Also, Americans make America no man’s land. This is universal…

This incident gave Brazilians a brief moment to displace their anger at each other, away from themselves and their own problems…


And the Brazilian police/security guards /bouncers act like thugs so that they can extort $$ from foreigners. RL has paid a fine, publicly apologized, etc. I, for one, would think twice about traveling to Brazil. Your statement about “Specially [sic] a gringo” shows the bias that exists and the general lawless attitude that is prevalent in Brazil. And yes, I have been to Brazil before.


Totally agree that this has gone on long enough. I don’t believe that this event has actually harmed Rio’s image in the two years since, and he was cleared of criminal charges so I agree that it’s time for this public prosecutor to let this die. However, I still think it requires some mental gymnastics to say that Lochte didn’t lie because he was made to pay for damage he committed and a gun was involved so therefore the robbery story wasn’t a lie. Ignoring the explicit lies about getting pulled over and robbed by people with badges, Lochte’s initial story intentionally excluded facts that would have drastically changed the public perception of the event. Even if the details that… Read more »


You don’t travel abroad much, do you? Guess what, each country has it’s own set of laws and cultural norms. It’s the job of the visitors to know and abide by them. The managers of that gas station don’t make close to what we make in this country. Lochte and company peed on them in more than the literal way. There is a good reason for the term “ugly American”


You’re correct in that each country has it’s own set of laws and cultural norms, and that it’s the job of the visitors to know and abide by them. However, Lochte has already paid his price for the incident, and to say Rio suffered a vast damage to it’s image simply because of this is preposterous; this seems more to me like a revenge move and money grab attempt. Also, please refrain from broad stroking every American as an “ugly American”. Not all Americans do that.


Let it go, Brazil.

Swim Fan

According to an April 4, 2018 issue of the Rio Times, crime has surged in the city this year to a 30 year high. Seems like Rio law enforcement should be focusing on more important things than beating this dead horse again and again.

This is likely intended as a distraction from that very problem.

Joel Lin

That’s a spot on point, Braden. Rio is one of the most violent cities in the world now, and the city is reeling from financial duress which was only exacerbated by the losses to host an Olympics.

This is a sad & pathetic attempt to throw a haymaker that has no credibility behind it.


With Chicago’s murder rate at an all time high and one of the most deadliest cities in America can you imagine the public outcry if they would have hosted the 2016 games.

bobo gigi

In NYC that’s at an all-time low.


Did you ever visit Chicago?


Yes, quite frequently. Obviously, you have not.


New Orleans beat Chicago and Detroit without a problem when it comes to murder rate …..

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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