Things in the Ryan Lochte robbery case have take a bizarre twist.
Moments ago an order was made to seize American swimmer Ryan Lochte’s passport by a Brazilian judge, after claims he ‘lied about being robbed’ at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) August 17, 2016
Brazilian Justice seized Ryan Lochte’s passport saying that he lied about robbery at #Rio2016
— Rádio BandNews FM (@radiobandnewsfm) August 17, 2016
Ryan Lochte’s lawyer, Jeff Ostrow, says that the swimmer is already back in the United States.
Earlier today police said they had further questions for the athlete – a 12-time Olympic medallist – about the robbery and found ‘little evidence’ that it had taken place.
Lochte revealed on Sunday that he was robbed along with Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen. All were left unharmed.
But police say the swimmers were unable to provide key details in police interviews – and claim they have found contradictions in the swimmers’ stories.
They want to speak with both Lochte and Feigen as a matter of urgency.
Brazilian authorities released this statement this afternoon to US website TMZ saying: “Judge Keyla Blanc De Cnop, the Special Court of the Fan and Major Events, ordered the dispatch of search warrants and seizure of passports of American swimmers Ryan Lochte and James Feigen.”
“With this, they are prohibited from leaving the country.”
Regarding the seizure of Lochte’s passport and the accusation that he lied about the robbery, Ostrow said…
“I have no information from Brazilian authorities that they want his passport.”
“…I’m shocked to hear that they would go to such measures in an effort to further investigate the incident as he has been nothing but cooperative with authorities, including sitting for a full interview with the Tourist Police, U.S. State Department, USOC Security, FBI, and anyone else that requested to be present.”
Ostrow told the NY Post that there was no question the robbery happened, and that the swimmer had 24-hour security hired after the incident.
“This happened the way he described it,” Ostrow told the NY Post.
Pictures and CCTV have emerged of the swimmer returning to the Olympic complex and passing security on the night of the alleged robbery – with the wallets and watches the men claim were stolen. Protocol requires that athletes go through a metal detector before entering the village, with athletes putting their belongings in plastic trays.
But images contradict the version of the swimmers and because of this Judge Keyla Blank, the Special Court of the Fan and Major Events banned the athletes from leaving the country.
The Mirror also adds that there was also a warrant issued for search and seizure to the Olympic Village, where passports would be seized. However it is thought that the swimmers have already have left the country.
“There was no effort to detain anyone, but police did have further questions this a.m. It is a matter for our consulate and U.S. citizen services and we will continue to cooperate with all involved,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement amid reports Wednesday that arrest warrants were issued for the swimmers.
It appears that, unless Lochte is egregiously lying for reasons unknown about the robbery, Brazil is now in meltdown mode, desperate to prove that it is a “safe” country for olympics, and in order to prove it, it is willing to go as far as to arrest a US national icon, an arrest however which may not happen.
Last week Loche described the robbery to various media sources…
Last week Lochte described the “terrifying” moment an armed robber held a gun to his head.
The 32-year-old champion was on his way back from a party in Rio when the taxi was held up by crooks pretending to be cops.
Lochte said he had his wallet stolen – but was luckily unharmed by the ordeal.
The 32-year-old, one of America’s leading swimmers, called his mum afterwards.
He told NBC: “I was with a couple swimmers, we got pulled over in our taxi and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge. No lights, no nothing, just a police badge.”
“They pulled us over. They pulled out their guns. They told the other swimmers to get down on the ground, they got down on the ground. I refused. I was like ‘We didn’t do anything wrong so I’m not getting down on the ground.’
But, according to Lochte one of the men then pulled out his gun, cocked it, and put it to his forehead.
And he added: “He said ‘get down’. I put my hands up. I was like ‘whatever’. He took our money, he took my wallet.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.