Former Rio mayor probed for bribery in Olympics contracts

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BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s Supreme Court has opened an investigation into former Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, who is accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes for contracts related to last year’s Olympic Games, court documents showed on Wednesday.

The accusations came from plea bargain testimony by former executives at engineering group Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL] that the court plans to release on Wednesday after Justice Edson Fachin opened cases against nearly 100 politicians on Tuesday.

One executive testified and provided corroborating documents to show Paes solicited payments of more than 15 million reais ($4.8 million) in 2012 in return for Olympic contracts, according to the court.

A media representative for Paes called the accusations “absurd” and said he had never accepted any kind of compensation for public works while in office.

In December, Paes called off plans to teach at Columbia University after a state court froze his assets in a case investigating whether he improperly waived an environmental fee for construction of an Olympic golf course, an allegation he denied.

Last month, police arrested two officials in the Rio state government accused of taking bribes in return for a contract to build a new subway for the 2016 Olympics.

($1 = 3.14 reais)

Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Additional reporting by Pedro Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro; Writing by Brad Haynes; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Lisa Von Ahn