Brazilian police officials formally charged U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte late Thursday with filing a false robbery report in Rio de Janeiro. Lochte and three Olympic swimmer teammates–Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen–lied about being robbed at gunpoint, Brazilian authorities said. Further, police say the athletes made up the story to cover up their damaging a bathroom door at a Rio gas station and that Mr. Lochte will be informed of the indictment in the United States so he can decide whether to introduce a defense in Brazil.
The indictment will also be sent to the International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission, which is investigating the whether Mr. Lochte and his teammates violated the Olympic charter.
Melissa Nathan, a spokeswoman for Mr. Lochte, said he had no comment. He lost four major sponsors early this week, including Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren. However, on Thursday he picked up a new sponsor — Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops. The company said people should be more understanding and confirmed he will appear in ads that say the company’s product is “Forgiving On Your Throat.”
He has 12 Olympic medals, second only to Michael Phelps among U.S. male Olympians.
Under Brazilian law, the penalty for falsely reporting a crime can bring a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison. Mr. Lochte could be tried in absentia if he doesn’t return to Brazile to face the charge, but legal experts say the chance of extradition is nil.