RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian police charged American swimmer Ryan Lochte on Thursday with submitting a false theft report over an incident in the course of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
A police assertion stated Lochte would learn in the USA so he may resolve whether or not to introduce a protection in Brazil. The indictment can even be despatched to the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s ethics fee, it stated.
”The investigation was concluded on Thursday and Olympic American swimmer Ryan Lochte was indicted for the crime of falsely reporting a criminal offense,” the assertion stated.
It stated the case was turned over to a particular Brazilian court docket that has jurisdiction over crimes associated to main sporting occasions. The court docket, which was established earlier than Brazil hosted soccer’s 2014 World Cup, is permitted to obtain circumstances straight from the police when lesser costs are concerned, and not using a want for prosecutors.
The swimmer’s spokeswoman, Melissa Nathan, stated Lochte had no remark.
In the course of the video games, Lochte initially stated that he and fellow swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen had been robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by males with a police badge as they returned to the Olympic Village from a celebration Aug. 15.
Video surveillance emerged exhibiting the athletes getting right into a confrontation with safety guards on the gasoline station when their taxi pulled over to allow them to use the restroom. Whereas there have been conflicting variations over whether or not the guards pulled their weapons on the swimmers, Lochte has since acknowledged he was extremely intoxicated and that his habits led to the confrontation.
Lochte left Brazil shortly after the incident. Three days later, native authorities took Conger and Bentz off an airliner heading to the USA so that they may very well be questioned in regards to the theft declare. They had been later allowed to depart Brazil, as was Feigen, after he additionally gave testimony. Feigen, who initially stood by Lochte’s testimony, was not charged.
Beneath Brazilian legislation, the penalty for falsely submitting a criminal offense report carries a most penalty of 18 months in jail. Lochte may very well be tried in absentia if he did not return to face the cost.
America and Brazil have an extradition treaty courting again to the 1960s, however Brazil has an extended historical past of not extraditing its personal residents to different nations and U.S. authorities may take the identical stance if Lochte is discovered responsible.
That’s presently the case of the pinnacle of Brazil’s soccer confederation, Marco Polo del Nero, who faces costs within the wide-ranging scandal entangling worldwide soccer’s ruling physique, FIFA. He has not travelled outdoors Brazil for greater than a yr to keep away from being arrested by U.S. authorities someplace else.
The costs in Brazil elevate questions in regards to the future for Lochte, who’s planning to take break day from swimming however desires to return to compete within the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He has 12 Olympic medals, second solely to Michael Phelps amongst U.S. male Olympians.
Lochte misplaced 4 main sponsors early this week over the controversy, together with Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren. However on Thursday he picked up a brand new sponsor – Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops. Pine Bros. stated individuals needs to be extra understanding of the swimmer and stated he’ll seem in advertisements that say the corporate’s product is ”Forgiving On Your Throat.”