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Feigen reaches settlement to leave Brazil

August 19, 2016

US Olympic swimmer James Feigen has agreed to donate about $10,800 to a charity, allowing him to leave the country. The settlement was ordered by a Brazilian judge after the athlete concocted a false robbery story.

USA Omaha Schwimmer Jimmy Feigen (Ausschnitt)
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. J. Terrill

Attorney Breno Melaragno said Friday that, under an agreement reached with a Brazilian judge, Feigen will donate 35,000 Brazilian reals (9,540 euros) to an "institution" and depart.

Brazilian law allows a donation to be made in lieu of criminal prosecution for minor offenses. It was not clear whether Feigen faced criminal charges for making alleged false statements to police claiming he and three other US swimmers had been robbed at gunpoint in a taxi.

"After this donation is done, his passport will be given back to him, and he will be free to return home," Melaragno said.

Authorities became suspicious of Feigen's contradictory story. A judge ordered his and fellow swimmer Ryan Lochte's passports confiscated. But Lochte left the country before the order was served; Feigen's passport was seized.

Police earlier announced that the four swimmers had not been held at gunpoint after a night of partying, as two of them had claimed. Instead, Brazilian police said the men, while intoxicated, vandalized a gas station bathroom and were questioned by armed guards before they paid for the damage and left.

The other three have already left the country. Melaragno, Feigen's attorney, said his client was expected to fly out later in the day.

US swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz - the two others implicated in the incident - landed in Miami from Brazil early on Friday. The airline moved the pair to business class and the two covered themselves to avoid media during an overnight flight, a witness said.

The US Olympic Committee issued an apology over the incident which has been a huge embarrassment for the US Olympic team that otherwise dominated many events. Lochte and the other swimmers could face sanctions from USA Swimming, including fines or suspension.

jar/jl (AP, Reuters)