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US swimmer Lochte charged over false robbery claim

Last week, Lochte made an apology for falsely claiming that he and his three team-mates had been robbed by armed men pretending to be police on their way home from a party in Rio. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Aug 25, 2016, 10.31 PM (IST)
Brazilian police charged US swimmer Ryan Lochte yesterday, over making a false statement about being robbed at gunpoint at Rio Olympics.

The US swimmer told police and media last week that he and three team mates were robbed by armed men during the Rio Olympics. Brazilian police denied the happening of any such crime and said that Lochte was responsible for an act of vandalism in a gas station while returning home inebriated after a party.

One police official quoted by Brazilian media said the 32-year-old gold medal-winner risks a jail sentence, though judicial authorities had yet to confirm that.

"Ryan Lochte was charged with the crime of falsely reporting a crime," police said in a statement, adding that the case had been referred to the courts.

The police statement said they had recommended that the courts issue a summons for Lochte to be questioned.

"Once he is summoned, whether he turns up or not, the penalty is the same: one to six months' prison," Rio police official Clemente Braune was quoted as saying by news website G1. "If he is summoned and does not turn up to the hearing, the trial will go ahead in the accused's absence until the final sentence is given."

Last week, Lochte made an apology for falsely claiming that he and his three team-mates had been robbed by armed men pretending to be police on their way home from a party.

The swimmers were detained when they tried to run away after vandalising a gas station bathroom, Rio police chief Fernando Veloso later told a press conference

Lochte's false claims humiliated first the Brazilian hosts of the Games and later Lochte's own Team USA when police contested his story.

Top sponsors such as Speedo and Ralph Lauren this week dropped Lochte after the incident.

"I'm taking full responsibility for it," Lochte said in an interview broadcast in part late Saturday. "I over-exaggerated that story and if I had never done that, we wouldn't be in this mess."

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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