August 24, 2016 01:10 PM

U.S. Olympic swimmer James Feigen is apologizing for his role in the robbery scandal involving Ryan Lochte, but says Brazilian police tried to fine him more than $46,000 to leave the country.

In his first statement since the fabricated robbery claim made international headlines, 26-year-old Feigen apologized for both his role in the incident and the “serious distractions from the Olympics” that resulted.

“It was never my intent to draw attention away from the tradition of athletic competition,” he said in the Tuesday statement, noting that he arrived in the U.S. over the weekend.

James Feigen
Tom Pennington/Getty

Feigen is the last of the Olympic swimmers embroiled in the controversy to return to the U.S.

Lochte, 32, initially claimed that he and fellow Olympic swimmers Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were robbed at gunpoint. But it was later revealed that the group vandalized a gas station and Brazilian police alleged that a security guard was simply trying to recoup their losses.

In his statement, Feigen said that the swimmers pulled into the gas station to use the bathroom but the door was locked.

“We did not force entry into the bathroom, nor did we ever enter the bathroom,” he said. “We did, however, make the regrettable decision to urinate in the grass behind the building.”

He added that Lochte pulled a poster off of a wall and after getting back into their cab, a “man with a gun” approached the vehicle.

The swimmer also addressed Rio police’s accusation that he filed a false police report, noting that he “omitted facts.”

“I omitted the facts that we urinated behind the building and that Ryan Lochte pulled a poster off the wall,” he said. “I realize that I made a mistake by omitting these facts. I was trying to protect my teammates and for this I apologize.”

Feigen even detailed the negotiations between his lawyers and Brazilian authorities, noting that he was given two options in the case: Stay in the country for a month while police investigated the incident, or pay a fine of $31,250 and perform 15 days of community service.

“I called my American attorneys to discuss what to do,” Feigen said in the statement. “We decided that this amount was unreasonable and due to safety concerns, this offer was also rejected. The prosecutor’s response was to increase the fine to $46,875.”

Finally, both sides agreed on a $10,800 fine that Feigen’s lawyer previously said would be donated to “an institute” in the country.

You May Like