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Big twist in lying Ryan Lochte saga suggests he may be innocent

By Tyson Otto

Video courtesy of Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3743679/Ryan-Lochte-seen-rushing-Olympic-village-new-security-footage-just-robbed-gunpoint-5am-nightclub-party.html

An American report has claimed Rio police exaggerated the truth in their version of the messy Ryan Lochte scandal.

Citing security camera footage from the Rio gas station where the incident occurred, usatoday.com has reported Rio police's version of events is just as full of holes as Lochte's initial claim that he and three teammates were forced out of their taxi and then robbed of their wallets by thieves pretending to be police.

The newspaper concluded from its investigation into the Shell service station fiasco that the evidence simply does not support the allegations that Lochte and teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen vandalised the petrol station's bathroom, which led to them being apprehended by security and forced to pay for damages.

Rio police chief Fernando Veloso claimed the swimmers broke a soap dispenser and mirror in the bathroom. There were also reports from international media that the swimmers broke the door of the bathroom.

In a huge twist, it has now been revealed the swimmers never entered the bathroom or approached the door.

The USA Today investigation concluded more than one of the swimmers urinated on a back wall of the service station and an intoxicated Lochte ripped down an advertising poster.

The group was then confronted by security guards, according to an eye witness of the incident, local Rio disc jockey Fernando Deluz, who just happened to be at the station at the time.

The Rio local said he translated the orders of the security guards to the swimmers and believes the situation was extremely dangerous for the athletes.

He claims one guard took out a handgun and demanded the Americans pay for the damage they caused.

"As soon as they drew their weapon, that's when I got worried," Deluz said.

"It was also so fast, and what I wanted was to resolve the situation.

"If it hadn't been for wanting to resolve that, if I hadn't involved myself, I thought - the police chief told me, 'Man, if you hadn't gone there in that moment, a tragedy could have occurred.'"

He said Lochte, who was the most intoxicated member of the group, almost forced the security guards to act forcefully after they initially attempted to flee the scene.

He said they did not once apologise for the damage they caused.

"What happened really - it's not even the issue of knocking down and breaking the sign," Deluz said.

"It was the attitude of the guys of messing up the place and then wanting to leave without a satisfactory resolution."

After Lochte went public with his false story and made a full report to police that they were robbed at gunpoint, police quickly acted on their belief the crime never occurred and accused the swim star of making a false police report.

Following the incident, Lochte flew back to the United States, while the other three stayed in Brazil.

Last week a Rio judge ordered their passports be confiscated so that they could not leave the country.

Bentz and Conger were reportedly on a plane ready to fly back home, only for federal police to come on board and escort them off.

While Lochte was back in the United States, Feigen paid $US11,000 to be donated to a charity in order to not face charges of making a false report.

The story is far from over.

Lochte on Tuesday (NZ time) lost four sponsorship deals - a major financial hit for the embattled gold medallist.

Global swimwear brand Speedo and US fashion label Ralph Lauren topped the list of companies that ended their relationships with the 32-year-old, with the former noting his actions had not reflected the "values" it wished to promote.

Mattress company Airweave and Syneron Candela, the parent company for a laser hair removal system that Lochte promoted, quickly followed suit.

"Speedo USA today announces the decision to end its sponsorship of Ryan Lochte," the company said in a statement, noting that the company will donate $50,000 of Lochte's fees to Save the Children, to go towards helping Brazilian youths.

"While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behaviour that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for," it said.

"We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience," Speedo USA said of Lochte, who has won a total of 12 medals in Olympic competition during his career, six of them gold.

Ralph Lauren, which outfitted Team USA for the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies in Rio, said it too was finished with Lochte, noting that their agreement was specific to the Rio Games and his contract would not be renewed.

"Ralph Lauren continues to proudly sponsor the US Olympic and Paralympic Team and the values that its athletes embody," it added in a statement.

Lochte's claims caused the Olympic authorities huge embarrassment, highlighting security worries at a Games where Brazil deployed 85,000 police and soldiers - double the number used in the 2012 London Games.

He could yet face disciplinary action over the incident -- both USA Swimming and the International Olympic Committee could sanction him.

- With AFP

- news.com.au

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