Rio de Janeiro city official faces corruption charges

Photo: Gerhard Stratt/Flickr

Photo: Gerhard Pratt/Flickr

07.08.2017

By Mads A. Wickstrøm
A former head of infrastructure in the city of Rio de Janeiro has been arrested and accused of taking bribes linked to Olympic construction projects.

Alexandre Pinto, former head of infrastructure in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games in 2016 has been arrested by Brazilian federal police and is now facing charges of corruption.

Police and federal prosecutors says that BRL 35.5 million ($11.4 million) in bribes were paid by companies working to clean polluted waters in the Olympic village, as well as building a bus transit system linking Rio’s airport to Olympic areas within the city, writes Reuters.

Prosecutors say construction firms OAS SA and Carioca Engenharia paid bribes to officials at the Federal Cities Ministry to permit funding for the projects. Alexandre Pinto, who oversaw the construction of the transit system and the cleaning of polluted waters in Rio de Janeiro, has been accused of accepting at least BRL 15 million ($4.8 million) in bribes related to Olympic contracts.

The accusations against Pinto is the latest among a larger number of corruption accusations made against Rio officials.

Eduadro Paes, former Mayor of Rio de Janeiro said in a statement on Thursday that it would be a “great disappointment” if the accusations against Pinto were found to be true, writes Inside the Games. Paes himself has allegedly received millions in bribes from construction company Odebrecht in connection with Olympic and Paralympic contracts. Paes denies any wrongdoing. However, according to Brazilian newspaper, O Estado São Paulo he was paid BRL 16 million ($5.1 million) for the “facilitation of Olympic-related contracts”.

Earlier this year, federal prosecutors alleged that contracts to refurbish football stadiums around the country, including the famous Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro, were won by contractors paying bribes to city officials. 

In March, former Undersecretary of Transportation for the State Government of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Carlos Velloso, and Heitor Lopes de Souza, a director for subway operator Riotrilhos were targeted by a federal investigation. Velloso and Souza were both charged with taking bribes and money laundering tied to contracts for the subway line.

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