Tags: olympics | brazil | ryan lochte | swimmer | robbery | crime

Brazil Recommends Charging U.S. Swimmers For False Police Report

(YouTube/Associated Press)

By    |   Thursday, 18 August 2016 07:01 PM

Rio de Janeiro officials have recommended U.S. Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte and James Feigen face charges of false reporting of a crime, the Federal Police of Brazil told ABC News on Thursday.

The office of Sen. Marco Rubio has also reportedly reached out to the Brazilian Embassy in Washington to potentially assist Lochte, a Florida resident, who is no longer in Brazil.

A Brazilian police official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to the Associated Press earlier Thursday, alleged Lochte's robbery at gunpoint story was fabricated.

The police source said around 6 a.m. Sunday, Lochte, along with fellow swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz, and Feigen, stopped at a gas station in Barra da Tijuca, a suburb of Rio where many Olympic venues are located. One of the swimmers tried but failed to open the door of an outside bathroom.

A few of the swimmers then pushed on the door and broke it. A security guard appeared and confronted them, the official said. The official says the guard was armed with a pistol, but he never took it out or pointed it at the swimmers.

According to the official, the gas station manager then arrived. Using a customer to translate, the manager asked the swimmers to pay for the broken door. After a discussion, they did pay him an unknown amount of money and then left.

The situation escalated Wednesday when Conger and Bentz were pulled from a flight at the Rio de Janeiro airport amid uncertainty over what truly took place during the late-night outing after Olympic swimming wrapped up at the Rio Games.

The official says that the swimmers told police the robbery story had been fabricated. Lochte first lied about the robbery to his mother, Ileana Lochte, who spoke with reporters, the police official said. That led to news coverage of the incident and prompted police attention.

Court officials had called for the four swimmers' passports to be seized, but Lochte already had returned to the United States before authorities could enforce the decision.

Representatives from the U.S. consulate arrived at the airport shortly after the swimmers were stopped from leaving the country Wednesday night.

Brazilian authorities continued pressing the American swimmers over the ever-changing account of the robbery. Police said the swimmers were unable to provide key details in early interviews and they found little evidence to support the robbery claim. The swimmers said they had been intoxicated and could not remember what type and color of taxi they rode, where the incident happened, or what time the events occurred, police said. The police official said officers grew suspicious when they reviewed security video of the swimmers returning to the athletes village and saw them wearing watches.

The office of Judge Keyla Blanc, who ordered the passports seized, said there were discrepancies in the statements by the swimmers.

Lochte originally alleged he was with Conger, Bentz and Feigen when they were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by men with police badges as they returned to the athletes village from a party several hours after the final Olympic swimming events on Saturday.

Information from the Associated Press has been used in this report.

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Rio de Janeiro officials have recommended U.S. Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte and James Feigen face charges of false reporting of a crime, the Federal Police of Brazil told ABC News on Thursday.
olympics, brazil, ryan lochte, swimmer, robbery, crime
Thursday, 18 August 2016 07:01 PM
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