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Brazilian Police Charge Ryan Lochte With Making A False Report

U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte attends a news conference on Aug. 12 in Rio de Janeiro.
Matt Hazlett
Getty Images
U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte attends a news conference on Aug. 12 in Rio de Janeiro.

The saga of the swimmer and the robbery-that-wasn't continues: Ryan Lochte has been charged with filing a false police report.

Brazilian police say Lochte and the International Olympics Committee's ethics commission will both be informed of the charges, NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro reports.

The charge carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison and Lochte could be tried in absentia, Lulu says. She notes that the U.S. has an extradition treaty with Brazil but that it's unlikely Lochte would be sent there if convicted.

As we've reported, Lochte told his mother, police and the press that he and three other U.S. swimmers were robbed at gunpoint earlier this month after thieves posing as police stopped the taxi they were traveling in.

That turned out to be, well, not what happened.

"There was no robbery," Rio de Janeiro Civil Police Chief Fernando Veloso said. Video showed the swimmers stopping at a gas station, as NPR reported:

"Referring to that video, Veloso says multiple witnesses have described a scene in which the swimmers vandalized the bathroom, were asked to pay for it, and got testy. He added that the video supports that version of events.

"The police did confirm one element that's common to all versions of the events that transpired around 6 a.m. local time this past Sunday: that the group of U.S. swimmers had a gun pointed at them. But instead of a robbery, it seems that the guns were wielded by security guards who kept the swimmers from leaving.

"Contrary to some earlier reports, the police say there was no physical violence between the swimmers and workers at the gas station who reportedly wouldn't let the Americans leave without paying for damages."

NPR's Greg Myre reflected on the "silly story" last week, writing, "Lots of teenagers don't give their moms the straight story about what happened on a Saturday night. But Lochte is 32."

He "has badly tarnished one of the great Olympic careers of all time," Greg notes. "After his remarkable career, he is likely to be best remembered for a bit of late-night mischief that he then turned into an international incident."

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Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.