Brazilian Olympic Committee president Carlos Nuzman. Photo: Toru Hanai/ Reuters

SAO PAULO, Brazil - The president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee has been arrested amid an investigation into a vote-buying scheme to bring the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro last year.

Carlos Nuzman, who is also an honorary International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, was held for questioning last month by Brazilian and French authorities. They say he is a central figure in channeling $2 million to Lamine Diack, a former IOC member from Senegal who helped secure votes when Rio was picked by the IOC in 2009.

Leonardo Gryner, director-general of operations for the organizing committee, was arrested along with Nuzman on Thursday morning.

Brazilian authorities have said the behind-the-scenes dealings to win the vote amounted to a "criminal organization." The 75-year-old Nuzman was one of the most prominent figures in bringing the games to Rio.

The arrests form part of a corruption investigation into alleged IOC corruption, known as Operation Unfair Play and being carried out in conjunction with French and US police.

AP

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