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Olympic Venues Come Under Scrutiny In Widening Brazilian Corruption Probe

RIO DE JANERO, Brazil (CelebrityAccess) — A massive corruption probe which has thrown the country of Brazil into political turmoil just months ahead of Olympic Games, has started investigating allegations of corruption Olympics-related construction.

According to Time Magazine, police and prosecutors are investigating if Brazilian construction company Odebrecht paid bribes to secure work on a new subway line that would connect Rio's beach areas to a station close to Olympic Park and a new mixed-use district in the city's port area.

The investigation, the largest in Brazilian history, is focused on a cartel of construction companies who are alleged to have engaged in widespread bribery of officials and politicians for overpriced public contracts.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is facing impeachment and her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is also under scrutiny in the corruption investigation. This week, internal Odebrecht documents emerged from the investigation which list 316 politicians from 24 parties who apparently received cash from the firm.

“The level of organization revealed by these documents is shocking. It would appear that all major public works were commissioned in this way and every major political party seems to have been involved,” Sylvio Costa, the founder of the Brasilia-based watchdog Congress in Focus, which reports on corruption told Time. “The question now, for the future of Brazil, is how federal police, prosecutors and the judiciary deal with a scandal that is far bigger than any of those institutions.”

While Olympic venues have until now largely avoided connection to corruption allegations, a Brazilian federal court on Tuesday moved to block funding for the construction of a sports complex for the games. Brazilian police and prosecutors have previously noted that they suspect corruption in Olympic construction projects because they were conducted by the same companies charged with graft in other instances.

According to Reuters, financing from state lender Caixa Economica Federal from being used for the construction of Olympic Deodoro complex where 11 sports, including Rugby Sevens, BMX biking and kayaking, will be held. The suspended funds totaled 128.5 million reais ($35 million), according to Brazilian news service G1.

Deodoro is Rio's second-largest Olympic complex, consisting of nine venues, seven of which have been completed. Shooting and equestrian venues are still under construction. – Staff Writers