Swimmer Jimmy Feigen Agrees to Pay $10,000 To Avoid Charges After Rio Robbery Scandal
Brazilian authorities said four members of the U.S. swimming team lied about being robbed at gunpoint last weekend.
U.S. Olympic swimmer Jimmy Feigen has agreed to make a $10,800 donation to a Brazilian charity after authorities say he and three of his teammates lied about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio.
After sitting down with a judge and Brazilian officials for four hours, Feigen's lawyer emerged on Friday morning and revealed the Olympian would be paying 5,000 Reals, which is just under $11,000.
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Under Brazilian law, donations can be made to avoid charges for minor offenses. The money will go to a charity called Reaction Institute.
The swimmer was caught up in the controversy with three of his teammates, Ryan Lochte, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz. They claimed they had been held up at gunpoint and robbed while returning to the Olympic village early Sunday.
But their story began to unravel when surveillance footage emerged showing them at a gas station before they were seen returning to the Olympic village in good spirits. On Thursday, authorities called a press conference to dispute the team's version of events.
"No robbery was committed against these athletes. They were not victims of the crimes they claimed," Civil Police Chief Fernando Veloso said during the news conference.
Instead, authorities said, the athletes vandalized the gas station bathroom. They were questioned by armed guards outside the gas station before they paid for the damage, authorities said.
After questions arose about their account, a judge ordered their passports to be seized but Lochte had already left the country. Bentz and Conger were about to leave Brazil when they were pulled from their plane.
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After the duo spoke with authorities, the order was lifted and they flew out of Brazil Thursday night. Their attorney, Sergio Riera, said they had done nothing wrong.
"They did not lie in their statements," he said. "They never lied to journalists. They only stayed quiet. They did not know what was going on."
Feigen is the last to return to the U.S. His passport will be returned after the payment is made, his lawyer said Friday.
The U.S. Olympic Committee apologized for what it called a "distracting ordeal."
"The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members,” it said in statement Thursday. “We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States."
On Thursday, Lochte stood by his account as he spoke to Matt Lauer of the Today show.
"We wouldn’t make this story up," he said. "We were shaken up.... We're victims in this and we're happy that we're safe."
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