Rio Olympic committee says employees acted alone in theft case
Sao Paulo • Rio de Janeiro Olympic organizers say the employees accused of stealing confidential files from the London Games acted alone and did not intend to harm either organization.
"They acted alone, without the knowledge of their immediate bosses or any other Rio 2016 leaders," the Rio committee said in a statement on Tuesday. "Although they allege that they had no intention of harming either organization, they broke the principles of the mutual trust between the committees."
It said 10 workers had been given access to the files, but were fired because they were not allowed to make copies of the documents without authorization. The committee said the workers had signed a contract prohibiting them from downloading the files.
"These workers didn't have to copy these files without authorization," the committee said. "They could've simply requested them to the LOCOG, which had been cooperating and sharing information."
The statement came a day after Brazil's Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo, the government official in charge of the 2014 World Cup and Olympic preparations, called the episode "lamentable" and "unacceptable." He praised the Rio committee for quickly solving the case.
Rio organizers had been criticized for not disclosing the situation earlier, but it said the investigation only ended last Tuesday.
It said the London team contacted them about the breach on Sept. 1, saying the files were copied by some of the Rio employees who had been working in a knowledge transfer program for about three months. London organizers said they wanted their counterparts to help them find and destroy the downloaded files.
"The LOCOG thanked the effort and the cooperation of Rio 2016 to solve the episode and considered the case closed," the Rio statement said.
But there were some unanswered questions.
The committee didn't name the employees who were fired or those in charge of them. It also didn't disclose the nature of the files that were illegally removed, although reports said they were related to strategy and security operations.
UOL.com journalist Juca Kfouri, who first reported the stolen files on Thursday, published an alleged letter of one of the fired employees. The letter was addressed to 2016 Rio committee Carlos Nuzman, saying that she was fired on allegations of "violating confidential and commercial information."
The worker said on the letter published Tuesday that she was "instructed to access the LOCOG system to study some documents needed" for her job while in London. She said "none of the information brought to Rio 2016" by her were "confidential" or "commercial," and were aimed solely at "improving our Games."
This comes two months before London and Rio officials gather in Brazil for the official debrief of the 2012 Games, a meeting where previous organizers provide the next hosts with information needed for staging the event.
The 2016 Games will be the first in South America.