In Rio: A Probe Into Corruption Regarding Olympic Venue Construction

A few weeks back, we talked about the Olympic velodrome and the delays that were causing well-publicized problems, and noted, “Be glad that’s not your project.” Here’s another reason to be glad you’re not in Rio. Federal investigators in Brazil have reportedly expanded a probe into whether there is corruption inherent in the awarding of contracts for construction projects of venues for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

Initially, federal investigators’ probe focused on transport and infrastructure associated with the Games, but the net has now been widened to include those associated with contracts involving venues and services which have been financed with government funds, according to Inside the Games’ Michael Pavitt.

The common denominator in all the allegations is Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras, which is facing wider corruption allegations that went all the way up to Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached last month by political enemies who feared a federal investigation. Several construction companies paid bribes for inflated contracts with Petrobras, according to various sources, with leading figures across Brazilian society and politics having supposedly profited.

In addition, there is an investigation into funds that were earmarked for work that didn’t occur. Case in point: the clean-up of Guanabara Bay, which will be used during the Olympic and Paralympic Games for sailing events. Funding for the work now appears to have disappeared and the bay is as dirty as ever. (To review, when Rio was awarded the Summer Olympic Games in 2009, part of the deal was a clean-up of the polluted bay. In advance of the Olympics, several countries have noted their athletes will be taking precautionary methods, including dosing with antibiotics and wearing surgical masks during competition to guard against what they say is raw sewage in the water.)

Ready, everyone? All together now: Eyeewwwww.

But political corruption isn’t the only problem plaguing the Rio Games. A number of hotel and venue projects remain incomplete. At least three hotel projects have been delayed. In addition, funds are lacking to complete a crucial subway system – although officials say talks are ongoing and the problem is being resolved.

Just think: back in the old days, all athletes had to complain about was the judging and scoring system.

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