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Olympic legends deny taking bribes for Rio bid

July 5, 2019

Ukraine's Sergey Bubk and Russia's Alexander Popov have said allegations against them relating to Rio's successful 2016 bid are false. Popov said he did not even vote for the Brazilian city, which beat Madrid.

Alexander Popov & Sergey Bubka

Two Olympic gold medalists who were accused of corruption relating to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics denied any wrongdoing on Thursday despite claims made against them in a Brazilian court.

Russia's Alexander Popov (above left) and Ukraine's Sergey Bubka (above right) had been accused of accepting money to vote for Rio to be the location for the summer games.

Bubka and Popov were members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) when Rio was selected the host at a voting session in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009. The city won the vote against the Spanish capital of Madrid by 66 votes to 32.

Read more: Brazil's Olympic head arrested on corruption charges

Two million in bribes

Former Rio governor Sergio Cabral had told the court earlier on Thursday that he had bought votes from Bubka and Popov for $2 million (€1.8m).

Cabral had previously been convicted of corruption and money laundering during the vote.

In court, Cabral said: "I was assured that Sergei Bubka received the bribe ... the Russian Alexander Popov as well."

Read more: Rio's Olympic legacy: Corruption and people power 

Both have vehemently dismissed the accusations.

Swimming legend Popov said to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti he "didn't even vote for Rio de Janeiro."

"I completely reject all the false claims made by the former Rio state governor," said Bubka, now an executive board member of the IOC.

The IOC has been investigating the 2016 and 2020 Olympic votes, and has already charged three former members of the committee. Former IOC member Lamine Diack and his son have already been implicated.

jns,es/amp (AP/AFP)

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