Rio mayor’s accounts frozen in Olympics corruption case

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 10 (IANS) A Brazilian court has frozen bank accounts belonging to Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, who is accused of malfeasance in connection with the construction of the golf course used during the 2016 Olympics.

The Friday’s order also applies to Fiori, the firm that won the contract to build the course, which never paid 2.39 million reais ($710,000) in environmental assessments on the project, EFE news reported.

The assessments were waived “contrary to all to the recommendations of the Environmental Secretariat”, prosecutors said in the indictment.

Paes, who steps down on January 1 after two terms, sought to devise a “magic formula” that would allow Fiori to avoid paying the assessments, a “clear act” of misconduct that caused harm to the public purse.

The court order denies the mayor access to a total of 181,000 reais ($53,780).

In a statement issued by the city government, Paes denounced the account freeze and said he would appeal the ruling.

Fiori ignored a notification from city hall about the requirement to pay the assessment for the “suppression of exotic vegetation” to build the golf course, said a statement.

A month before prosecutors charged Paes, the municipal Environment Secretariat asked the city attorney’s office to demand that Fiori pay the assessment with accumulated interest.

–IANS

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