Brazilian police have charged US swimmer Ryan Lochte with making a false statement after he claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Lochte apologised last week for saying he and three of his swimming teammates – Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen – were robbed by armed men carrying police badges.

He had initially said the men carrying police badges told the swimmers to drop to the ground and demanded money and their belongings.

When he refused, one of the men placed the pistol against the swimmer’s head, and he then handed over his wallet, Lochte had said.

“Ryan Lochte was charged with the crime of falsely reporting a crime,” Rio police said in a statement which added that the police had recommended the courts issue a summons for the Olympic gold medallist to be questioned.

“Once he is summoned, whether he turns up or not, the penalty is the same: one to six months’ prison,” the news website G1 Rio quoted police official Clemente Braune as saying.

“If he is summoned and does not turn up to the hearing, the trial will go ahead in the accused’s absence until the final sentence is given.”