RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) – Olympic authorities in Rio de Janeiro said they are confident sporting venues will be delivered on time for the 2016 Olympics when they kick-off here in August despite the opening of an investigation into supposed irregularities at a venue under suspicion of corruption.
The director of the Municipal Olympic Company, Roberto Ainbinder, on Monday (April 4) said the venues were on schedule even though a federal court has blocked funding for construction at part of the Olympic Deodoro complex.
State lender Caixa Economica Federal last week confirmed it suspended payments to a consortium building Deodoro, where 11 sports including rugby sevens and BMX Biking will be held, after receiving a court order. But the lender said it could not give a reason for the suspension as the case was under seal.
The news was first reported by the G1 website last Tuesday (March 29), which said the suspended funds totalled 128.5 million reais ($35 million dollars). According to the report, prosecutors in Rio say they found evidence of fraud in earthmoving services at the venue.
Ainbinder said the earthmoving services had already been completed and that the issue would not slow progress at Deodoro which he says is largely complete.
“The issue is being looked at by the legal sectors of both the city and the company. I don’t know how to answer here now. But, the fact is that the service has already been done. There will not be any standstill that can impact the schedule of the project because the Deodoro projects, the vast majority of them anyway, are done,” Ainbinder said.
The Deodoro consortium is made up of builders Queiroz Galvao and OAS. The two companies are already deeply ensnared in a far-reaching investigation into corruption at state-run oil company Petrobras.
Police and prosecutors previously said they suspect corruption in Olympic building projects because they were carried out by the same major construction and engineering firms that have already been charged with graft in the Petrobras case.
Ainbinder said most of the venues have already been completed and several test events have been held with more on the slate before the Games get underway.
“We made it essential to have an equestrian test event at Deodoro which was a great success. And there were things that were not completed for the test event because they were not necessary for the test event. For the Olympics, what is needed is the construction of the Handlers’ Village, which are three residential buildings. There is no mystery here. It is underway and will be done in May. The Veterinary Clinic, which is also a very small, very simple building also wasn’t ready. It wasn’t needed for the test event. It is being completed now. So everything is on schedule,” he added.
Deodoro is Rio’s second-largest Olympic cluster with nine venues being built at a cost of 800 million reais ($220 million dollars). Seven have already been completed, with the shooting and equestrian venues still under construction.