US swim star Lochte faces renewed criminal proceedings over Rio vandal scandal - report

US swim star Lochte faces renewed criminal proceedings over Rio vandal scandal - report
A Rio de Janeiro court has reportedly reopened a criminal case against US swimmer Ryan Lochte after upholding an appeal by the city Prosecutor's Office that challenged the decision to drop criminal charges against the prominent athlete.

Lochte was accused of falsely reporting a crime to police during the 2016 Olympics in Rio after giving an interview to NBC News in which he claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint together with three other US swimmers – Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen – which turned out to be untrue. Lochte later admitted to exaggerating the details of the incident.

In July of 2017, Rio’s 5th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Justice ruled that the swimmer had not filed a robbery report to police, but only mentioned the incident in an interview, which does not qualify as “false communication of crime to authorities.” It subsequently quashed criminal proceedings against Lochte.

After the case was closed the Rio de Janeiro Public Prosecutor's Office filed an appeal to the Superior Court of Justice. The action challenged the decision of the 5th Criminal Chamber. Brazilian news outlet Globo reported on Thursday the proceedings have been reopened.

The incident occurred the day after the Olympic swimming competition concluded, where Lochte took gold in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay. According to Lochte, he and his teammates were robbed by armed men posing as policemen at a Rio gas station.

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However, after inspecting CCTV footage, police revealed that four had vandalized the service station restroom, breaking a door while trying to knock it down. Their actions led to an altercation with armed security guards, who forced them to pay for the damage.

In September 2016, the six-time Olympic champion was handed a 10-month suspension by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Swimming for fabricating the robbery claims. This prevented him from participating at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships in Hungary.

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