Eduardo Paes, former mayor of Rio de Janeiro and an instrumental figure in getting the 2016 Rio Olympic Games up off the ground, is under investigation for allegedly accepting bid-related bribes.
Brazilian authorities are investigating whether the construction firm Odebrecht paid billions in bribes to win contracts; Paes is one of numerous officials caught up in the course of that probe.
“He vehemently denies that he has accepted bribes to facilitate, or to benefit, the interests of the Odebrecht company,” said associates of the mayor, who left office because of term limits on Jan. 1, in a statement to the AP.
Two years prior to the Games, IOC officials said Rio’s preparation for the Olympics was woefully behind schedule. Paes stepped in at that time, kickstarting construction and spearheading the Games’ progress to completion. He received awards from the IOC following the Games’ conclusion, all the while strenuously denying any corruption.
Odebrecht constructed several Olympic arenas in Brazil, extended a subway line, and refurbished Rio’s ports. Paes stands accused of accepting at least $5 million in bribes.
Related investigations indicate irregularities in the bidding and construction of at least three stadiums built for the 2014 World Cup.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.