Brazil probes federations for siphoning Games funds
RIO DE JANEIRO
BRAZILIAN federal police are investigating local sports federations for allegedly embezzling funds meant for training Olympic athletes, Globo TV said on Sunday.
The police suspect Brazilian federations misappropriated funds destined to buy equipment and improve training sites ahead of the Games, Globo said. The police are investigating whether former sports minister Ricardo Leyser knew about the scheme, it added.
Brazil's government had pledged to invest one billion reals (S$415.6 million) since 2013 to boost medal chances at home. Brazilians were awarded 17 medals at the 2012 London Games.
A spokesman for the federal police did not immediately respond to a request for comments. A representative for Mr Leyser could not be reached although the former minister denied any wrongdoing in an interview with Globo's weekly broadcast, Fantastico.
The investigation is the latest setback for the first Games to be held in South America.
Brazil's recession, the worst since the 1930s, is stoking crime and straining public finances, leading to threats of police strikes on the eve of the Games.
The Rio Games were originally planned to showcase Brazil's ascent as a global power but will play out instead against a backdrop of recession, political turmoil and concern over an outbreak of the Zika virus.