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Rio chief: Olympic bid was clean

Rio de Janeiro staged a 'very clean' campaign for the 2016 Olympics, the chief organiser said on Thursday in response to a French investigation into the bid.

Olympic Games Rio 2016 Organizing Committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman

Carlos Nuzman, president of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, shrugged off any doubts about the integrity of the Brazilian bid before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote in 2009.

'We did a very clean and organised bid. We had a huge difference among all the candidates during all the rounds and in the end it was 66-32,' Nuzman said in an interview in London. Seven cities started the contest, with Rio beating Madrid in the final vote.

Asked what he knew about the French investigation, Nuzman said: 'Nothing. It's not our problem.' He added that the organising committee has had no contact with French prosecutors.

A French inquiry into corruption allegations against the former head of world athletics has been expanded to examine bidding for the 2016 Olympics, won by Rio, and for the 2020 Games, to be held in Tokyo.

'We are at the verification stage (to establish whether there has been any wrongdoing),' said a judicial source, who revealed that the inquiry began in December.

The inquiry is part of a wider investigation into Lamine Diack, Senegalese former president of world athletics body the IAAF, and his son, Papa Massata Diack.

The IOC has insisted there is 'no evidence' of any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Nuzman was critical of a decision by the Australian Olympic Committee to bans its athletes from visiting Rio's favelas, or slums, during the Olympics due to security fears.

Rio's mayor, Eduardo Paes, has described the ban as a 'source of aggressions to Brazil'.

'If you travel round the world you'll see the same kind of buildings around the world -- in Australia, in France, in India. It doesn't matter where,' said Nuzman.

'And each place has a different name. You will find the same in any other country. I think it's not a good measure or a good announcement, what they did.'

He added: 'They need to remember they organised the Sydney Games (in 2000). And they had problems.'

But Nuzman did say that people seeking to visit the favelas should join official tours.

He said that the only unfinished venue in the Olympic park was the velodrome, which is due to be completed in two weeks.

He also played down the fact that only 47 percent of tickets for Olympics events have been sold, five months before the start of the Games.

'Brazilians love to buy tickets at the last moment,' he said. 'This happened with the (2014) World Cup.'