(ATR) Rio police today arrested IOC Executive Board member Pat Hickey in connection with the Olympic tickets scalping scandal.
Hickey, who heads the European Olympic Committees and the Olympic Council of Ireland, is accused of being involved in illegal ticket sales for the Games.
He was arrested at the Windsor Marapendi, the official IOC hotel in Barra da Tijuca. Police said Hickey was then taken to hospital after he complained of feeling ill and due to a heart condition he made them aware of, according to Irish media reports.
The news was broken this morning by Jamil Chade, a well-respected Olympic correspondent for O Estado de Sao Paulo.Chade said on Twitter that Hickey was taken to hospital after feeling sick soon after he was arrested and his credential taken from him.
Civil police confirmed Hickey's arrest in a statement sent to ATR, saying evidence had been uncovered of his involvement in the ticketing scam.
He faces three charges: ticket scalping, forming a cartel and illicit marketing.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams faced a barrage of questions about Hickey at the IOC’s daily briefing in Rio. He said the IOC does not want to comment until legal action against Hickey is confirmed to them.
The Olympic Council of Ireland have yet to comment.
Since the start of the Games, Rio police have arrested around 40 ticket touts operating outside the Olympic Park. More than 1,000 tickets destined for the black market were seized by police. Kevin James Mallon, the director of sports hospitality company THG Sports, and his interpreter Barbara Carnieri were arrested in Rio for ticket touting.
The Olympic Council of Ireland recruited THG as its official ticketing agent for the London 2012 andSochi 2014 Olympics. But the NOC’s authorized ticket reseller for the Rio Games is Pro10.
On Aug. 8, the Olympic Council of Ireland denied any involvement in the ticketing scam, despite photos of some of the tickets showing they were an allocation from the NOC. The tickets, including some for the opening ceremony priced $442, were being sold on the black market for inflated prices.
The Irish NOC has launched its own investigation into how the tickets sold by Pro10 came to be in the hands of ticket scalpers.
On Sunday night, Hickey held a "fairly tense, fairly frank" meeting with Irish sports minister Shane Ross about the ticketing scandal, according to the Irish Times.
The IOC official is reported to have rejected a request to include an independent person on the OCI’s probe into the ticketing scam.
"We just met a brick wall," Ross was quoted by the newspaper.
Written by Mark Bisson
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