Rio De Janeiro: Brazilian police pulled two US Olympic swimmers off a US-bound plane in a row over their claim of having been victims of an armed mugging, officials said.
“We can confirm that Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were removed from their flight to the United States by Brazilian authorities,” said Patrick Sandusky, spokesman for the US Olympic Committee. The two were with star US swimmer Ryan Lochte and another squad member, James Feigen, when they said they were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday. A Brazilian judge ordered a probe, saying their story is full of inconsistencies.
“The swimmers are here and making statements,” an airport police spokesman told AFP, without giving further details. Globo, a leading Brazilian news organization, posted a video online showing the two swimmers walking into a police station. They were later released “with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday,” Sandusky said. Lochte, who went home before Brazilian authorities ordered the swimmers’ questioning, and Feigen, who remains in Brazil, will cooperate with the investigation, broadcaster NBC reported.
Earlier Wednesday, Judge Keyla Blank “issued warrants for searches and the seizure of the passports for the US swimmers,” a statement from her office said. “With this, they are banned from leaving the country,” the statement said. The court order was the latest twist in a story of a supposedly terrifying incident that embarrassed Olympic authorities and ramped up the fear factor for hundreds of thousands of tourists in Rio at South America’s first Olympics. Now, Brazilian officials are suggesting that the US swimmers may have made up their account — and could face charges for filing a false report. More (AFP)
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