US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has lying charges thrown out by Brazil court | News | DW | 15.07.2017
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US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has lying charges thrown out by Brazil court

A court in Brazil has dismissed criminal charges against Lochte after finding that his lies did not amount to filing a fake report. Lochte had falsely claimed that he was robbed at gunpoint at last year's Games in Rio.

A court in Rio de Janeiro ruled on Saturday that US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte's robbery claims did not constitute filing a fake crime report, an offense punishable in Brazil by up to 18 months in prison.

Lochte made worldwide headlines and deeply embarrassed the Olympic organizing committee when he told US broadcaster NBC that he and three other swimmers were robbed at gunpointby men posing as policemen while on their way back to Rio's Olympic village from a party.

Read more: Sponsors drop Ryan Lochte after Rio fiasco

However, surveillance footage determined soon after that Lochte had largely fabricated the story. Footage captured showed the athletes getting into a confrontation with security guards outside a gas station, where they had pulled over to use the restroom. 

Lochte, a six-time Olympic gold medalist, admitted after that he was intoxicated during the incident after a night of partying, and that he had even sparked the confrontation.

Repercussions and sponsorship

Following the court's decision, Lochte's attorney, Jeff Ostrow, said on Saturday: "We are pleased that the court has finally dismissed the criminal prosecution against Mr. Lochte, while also acknowledging that he committed no crime while in Brazil. We are hopeful that the prosecution accepts the court's decision so that this story can finally be put to rest."

As well as facing criminal charges in Brazil, Lochte was also handed a 10-month suspension from swimming for the US national swim team. His suspension ended on June 30; however his ineligibility to compete at the recent US nationals kept him from qualifying for this month's world championships in Hungary.

Following the fiasco, he was also dropped by a number of his sponsors, including Speedo USA, Ralph Lauren, and skin-care firm Syneron-Candela.

"It's been a long suspension but it's over," Lochte tweeted after his suspension ran out. "I've learned and became a better man from it."

However, prosecutors can still appeal the ruling, while Lochte may face other charges in Brazil, according to local media.

dm/jm (AP, AFP)

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