US swimmers ordered to stay in Brazil

A judge in Brazil has issued an order to prevent US swimmers Ryan Lochte and James Feigen from leaving the country on the grounds they gave conflicting accounts of their robbery outside the Rio Games on Sunday, a Brazilian daily has said.

Lochte, one of swimming’s most decorated Olympians, had already returned to the US ahead of the court ruling, the newspaper quoted Brazilian police as saying. It was unclear if Feigen had also left the country.

The swimming competition ended on Saturday.

Lochte said he, Feigen and two other team-mates were travelling to the Athletes Village in a taxi in the early hours of the morning, after a party, when armed men carrying police badges pulled them over.

The gunmen ordered them to drop to the ground and demanded their wallets and belongings, Lochte said.

Officials from the US Olympic Committee and a lawyer for Lochte could not be immediately reached for comment.

After the decision by judge Keyla Blanc, of the Special Tribunal for Fans and Major Events, authorities requested a search and arrest warrant for the swimmers with the aim of finding Feigen’s mobile phone in order to identify exactly where the swimmers were on Sunday night, O Globo reported.

Civil police agents visited the US delegation building and spoke to the head of security there, but neither of the swimmers was present, the paper said.

Police investigating the robbery so far have found little evidence supporting the account, and say the swimmers were unable to provide key details in police interviews.

A police official with knowledge of the investigation said police cannot find their taxi driver or witnesses. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Lochte’s attorney, Jeff Ostrow, said there was no question the robbery happened and that Lochte had 24-hour security hired after the incident.

The group did not call police, authorities said, and officers began investigating once they saw media reports in which Lochte’s mother spoke about the robbery.

Police interviewed Lochte and one other swimmer, who said they had been intoxicated and could not remember what type and colour of taxi they rode in or where the robbery happened, the police official said.

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