Rio court freezes mayor’s assets over Olympics golf course ‘scam’ | other sports | Hindustan Times
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Rio court freezes mayor’s assets over Olympics golf course ‘scam’

other sports Updated: Dec 10, 2016 09:59 IST
Eduardo Paes

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes (third left) and Brazil Olympic Committee president Carlos Nuzman celebrate during a ceremony at the Olympic Golf Course. (AP File)

A court in Brazil ordered assets belonging to Rio de Janeiro mayor’s frozen Friday after a company that built a golf course for the August Olympic Games never paid a required tax.

Rio’s state court opened an inquiry in March 2016 into whether the mayor had granted “excessive” and “unjustified” benefits to Fiori Empreendimentos, which never paid an environmental impact fee of 1.8 million reais ($533,000).

Mayor Eduardo Paes said he would appeal the court ruling, which saw up to 181,000 reais of his assets frozen.

“Contrary to what the prosecution claims, the city council of Rio demanded... that Fiori Empreendimentos Imobiliarios pay the tax so that authorization could be granted for it to remove exotic vegetation” on the nature reserve where the course was built, the mayor’s office said in a press release, providing documents supporting its claims.

However, the company has never paid the tax.

The golf course, which cost $19 million, was constructed in the city’s west. There are two other private golf courses in Rio which did not meet standards to host Olympic golf competitions.

Friday’s court ruling specifies that Paes and the company carry out an auction of assets to pay off the sum.

Paes’ term in office concludes at the end of the year. He will be replaced by Marcelo Crivella from the socially conservative Brazilian Republican Party (PRB), who won the mayoral race in October municipal elections.