Brazilian police on Thursday, charged American swimmer Ryan Lochte with filing a false robbery report over an incident during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Following the incident, Lochte, 32, lost all four of his major sponsors.
Under Brazilian law, the penalty for falsely filing a crime report is a maximum of 18 months in prison. Lochte could be tried in absentia if he didn’t return to face the charge.
Lochte’s account of being held up with three team mates by men dressed as police officers embarrassed the host city, and also angered local officials.
It dominated news coverage of South America’s first Olympics, amid heightened concerns over security in the crime-ridden metropolis.
Police and Lochte’s teammates subsequently said that he had committed an act of vandalism at a gas station and became embroiled in a dispute with employees, who had demanded compensation. The police also released a CCTV footage of what transpired at the gas station.
The police said one of the security staff drew his weapon when the row became heated.
Lochte will be informed of the charges in the U.S. and the indictment will be sent to the International Olympic Committee’s Ethics Division.
Teammate Jimmy Feigen agreed last week to pay 35,000 real ($10,833) to a charity in Rio in compensation for having the same charges dropped and the return of his seized passport.
Lochte had left Brazil the day after the incident at the gas station took place.
Lochte would be informed in the United States so he could decide whether to introduce a defense in Brazil.
Recall that Lochte won one gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
He was the breakout star of the 2012 London Olympics, landing a short-lived reality TV series called “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?”
Lochte also appeared as himself on top shows such as “30 Rock’” and “90210”.
Lochte, who has won 12 Olympic medals, second only to Michael Phelps, among US male Olympians, on Thursday, picked up a new sponsorship deal with Pine Bros Softish Throat Drops.
“We all make mistakes, but they’re rarely given front page scrutiny,” Pine Bros Chief Executive Rider McDowell said in a statement on Thursday.
“I’m confident that Pine Bros fans will support our decision to give Ryan a second chance”.
In a tweet on Thursday, Lochte said: “Thanks to all the folks at Pine Bros for your confidence in me. I look forward to making you proud”.
Photo Credit: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images