Investigators focus on Miami investor in possible bid-rigging for 2016 Brazil Olympics

Emily L. Mahoney and Malu Gaspar, Miami Herald on

Published in Olympics

Today, Lamine Diack is in French custody on charges of corruption and money laundering related to the IAAF matter. An international arrest warrant has been issued for his son, according to the Guardian.

Soares is under even more intense scrutiny at home for his connections to Cabral, the imprisoned ex-governor, as federal investigators are looking into allegations that the businessman bribed his way to the top of the government's list of contractors. He and Cabral both had summer homes in the same seaside neighborhood -- as did several other state officials and businessmen who have been arrested, according to Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

Among the accusations: Folha de Sao Paulo reported last year that Soares paid more than $300,000 to the office of Adriana Ancelmo, Cabral's wife.

Soares said in sworn testimony that the payment was for legitimate legal services that Ancelmo, a lawyer, provided to him, according to court records.

Cabral's arrest shook the nation at a time when the list of Brazilian politicians not implicated in corruption is dwindling. He was only the latest to fall prey to the country's wide-ranging national anti-corruption investigation, Lava Jato, or Operation Car Wash, named for a gas station used by criminal rings to launder money.

In Brazil, Soares has a history of avoiding the spotlight. In conversation, he is said to speak softly and politely. Before he sold his business in Rio, he spent much of his time in its headquarters, a plain building with no outstanding features beyond its high walls and security worthy of a bunker, in a lower-middle class neighborhood.

But in Miami, his elusive presence is almost phantom-like.

A gatekeeper confirmed that Soares lives in a $5.3 million luxury villa on Key Biscayne, part of the Oceana complex on the eastern side of the island. On its website, the development is advertised as "ultra exclusive" with a "discreet environment." Porsches and Mercedes-Benzes drive in and out of the gates while unannounced visitors are turned away.

Those who know Soares said he enjoys the finer things. He used to cruise his 70-foot yacht through the ocean near his beachside home in Brazil and owned a private jet to go back and forth from Miami, according to former associates. He drinks Cristal Champagne and smokes Cohiba cigars. He has gone to Cher concerts in Las Vegas and Miami.

In Miami, Soares frequents Casa Tua in Miami Beach, according to a former associate, a hideaway that reflects his taste for luxury and mystery.


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