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Temer Says Rio will be Ready as Sports Minister Denies Conflict of Interest | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An aerial view of Rio Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Reuters

Interim President Michel Temer told the International Olympic Committee that Brazil’s change of government will not interrupt preparations for the Rio 2016 Games, newly appointed Sports Minister Leonardo Picciani said on Monday, as he denied conflict of interest in Olympic works.

Temer spoke to IOC president Thomas Bach by telephone and assured him the games will take place as planned, Picciani told reporters after a meeting with Brazil’s new president, who replaced suspended President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday.

Picciani, a congressman who comes from an influential family in Rio de Janeiro, said preparations for the global sports event were on schedule and security for the games was guaranteed.

But the minister is accused of a conflict of interest because a family business partners with a firm selling gravel to construction companies working on Olympic projects.

Picciani denied any wrongdoing and spent the weekend inaugurating a new Olympic venue.

He and his family own Agrobilara, a company worth $12 million that has a partnership with Tamoio, which provides the gravel.

In a statement, Picciani said his company doesn’t take part in Tamoio’s decision-making, and said it doesn’t have any contracts with Rio’s city hall or the state government. He said Brazil’s sports ministry does not award contracts for Olympic projects.

“The contracts for the Olympics have already been awarded, and they were managed by the International Olympic Committee, the Brazilian Olympic Committee, and Rio de Janeiro’s city hall,” said Picciani, who took over last week.

He is the third sports minister in three months.