Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 5 – Russia’s embassy in Brazil denied a report by Rio police that its vice consul in the Olympic host city got in a fight with a mugger who was killed in the struggle.
Rio de Janeiro’s homicide branch initially said late Thursday that the vice consul “reacted to an attempted assault”.
“The vice consul got into a physical struggle with the assailant and during the fight the aggressor’s weapon fired shots. The assailant died of his wounds on the spot.”
But the Russian embassy in the capital Brasilia issued a statement saying that “no representative of the Russian consulate general in Rio de Janeiro was involved in an attempted assault ending with the death of the suspect.”
The statement said all diplomatic employees were Russian citizens “with Russian names, which is not the case” in the reported assault.
On Friday, police said only that the “investigation is ongoing and the Russian consulate will be informed.”
Folha newspaper reported Friday that the confusion started when the man who fought off the mugger presented a false identity card to police, presenting himself as a lawyer and Russian vice consul.
According to Rio’s police, the fight took place in the western zone of Rio where the Olympic Park and athletes’ village are located. It was the latest high profile incident reported in a city where 85,000 police and soldiers have been deployed to keep the peace during the Games.
Brazilian news site Extra reported that the man was in his car with his wife and daughter in a car when they were ambushed by men on two motorbikes while caught in a traffic jam. The second robber fled after the fatal struggle, according to the report.
Traffic jams are a favored target for robbers on foot or on motorbikes in Rio, as well as buses which are regularly raided by armed men.