Brazilian Police Charge Ryan Lochte With Crime

| by Michael Allen
Ryan LochteRyan Lochte

U.S. Olympic swimming star Ryan Lochte was criminally charged by Brazilian police on Aug. 25.

The police said in a statement: "Ryan Lochte was charged with the crime of falsely reporting a crime," notes AFP.

The police recommended that a court summons be issued for the 32-year-old gold medal winner.

Police official Clemente Braune said: "Once he is summoned, whether he turns up or not, the penalty is the same: one to six months' prison," reports the G1 Rio news site.

"If he is summoned and does not turn up to the hearing, the trial will go ahead in the accused's absence until the final sentence is given," Braune added.

Lochte made world headlines when he claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint on Aug. 14, along with three other U.S. swimmers, but after conflicting reports and a surveillance video surfaced, Lochte told NBC's Matt Lauer on Aug. 21: "I over-exaggerated that story and if I had never done that, we wouldn't be in this mess."

Rio de Janeiro Police Chief Fernando Veloso has said the U.S. athletes were not actually robbed, but were detained after vandalizing a bathroom at a gas station.

An armed security guard reportedly kept them at the gas station until they paid about $50 for their alleged vandalism.

Lochte flew back to the U.S., but his three teammates -- Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen -- were held in Brazil for questioning; Lochte did not return to Brazil.

Lochte, who has lost some corporate deals over the incident, has not commented on the charges yet, but he will reportedly be appearing on "Dancing With The Stars."

According to USA Today, an unidentified source close to the deal confirmed the swimmer would join the TV dance competition this fall.

Rachel Stockman of Law Newz noted on Aug. 18 that the possibility of Brazil successfully extraditing Lochte was unlikely due to the 1962 United States Brazilian International Extradition Treaty, which doesn't provide for a U.S. citizen to be extradited on the charge of making a false statement, although it does include perjury (lying while under oath).

Sources: AFP via Yahoo SportsUSA Today, Law Newz / Photo Credit: RyanLochte

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