December 11, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) The state-run Banco do Brasil said Thursday it is cutting off sponsorship payments to Brazil's volleyball confederation following a report by the country's watchdog auditing office citing irregular payments by the sports body.

In a report released Thursday, the anti-corruption body known as the CGU - Comptroller General's Office - said bank funds had gone in an ''irregular'' fashion to some companies or individuals connected with the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation, the CBV.

The bank said it ''would not go along with illegal practices that hurt the sport or the volleyball community.''

In a statement, the CBV said it had received the report citing irregularities under former President Ary Graca. He resigned earlier this year, but remains president of the FIVB, the world governing body of the sport.

''Even before this report, the new management took steps aimed at implementing responsible governance and, above all, ethics,'' the confederation said. It added it had made its accounts available to supervisory authorities and had set up a permanent internal audit.

Graca has said his resignation had nothing to do with on-going reports about mismanagement. He said he had planned to resign with increased duties at the Switzerland-based FIVB.

Volleyball is probably the favorite sport in Brazil after football. It gained much of its popularity under former CBV President Carlos Nuzman, an International Olympic Committee member who now serves as head of the organizing committee for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Nuzman has not been connected to any wrongdoing.

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Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP

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