Former Rio de Janeiro mayor investigated for alleged Olympics-related bribes

The former mayor of Rio de Janeiro has come under investigation for allegedly soliciting about $5 million in bribes in exchange for construction contracts related to the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Eduardo Paes is among scores of politicians named in court documents linked to a corruption investigation of a major Brazilian engineering and construction conglomerate, news reports stated Wednesday.

This isn’t the first time Paes has come under suspicion. Late last year, authorities froze his assets over allegations that he failed to charge appropriate fees to the developer of Rio’s Olympic golf course.

Paes has denied any wrongdoing.

In regards to the bribery case, authorities suspect the conglomerate Odebrecht made illicit payments to win lucrative contracts to build sports venues and other infrastructure for the recent Games.

Wednesday’s news further tarnishes the legacy of the troubled Rio Olympics, which took place during an economic crisis in Brazil and ran short of funds at the last minute.

Since last summer, there have been reports of some venues built at great cost going unused or falling into disrepair since the Games ended, which runs counter to the International Olympic Committee’s stated goal of leaving host cities with facilities that will benefit the populace long after the competition is over.

david.wharton@latimes.com

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