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Council vows to co-operate with Olympic ticket probe

By Brian Hutton

Published 20/08/2016

Quizzed: Patrick Hickey. Picture: AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky
Quizzed: Patrick Hickey. Picture: AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has said it will co-operate with an expected Irish State inquiry into the alleged illegal sale of tickets for the Rio games.

Two ticket agencies at the centre of the controversy have also pledged their co-operation and urged the anticipated probe in Dublin to make its findings known as quickly as possible.

Ireland's Sports Minister Shane Ross is expected to appoint a judge or barrister to head an independent inquiry after flying back early from Brazil to meet the attorney general.

The head of the OCI, Patrick Hickey, has been discharged from hospital in Rio and taken to a police station for questioning in connection with the investigation.

He was arrested at a hotel in the Barra da Tijuca area of the city and taken to hospital with chest pain, later undergoing a series of cardiac tests.

Mr Hickey (71), who stood down from his role after his arrest, was monitored at the nearby Samaritano Hospital until Thursday.

The OCI said: "The Olympic Council of Ireland confirms that it will co-operate fully with any State inquiry into its handling of ticketing arrangements for the Rio Olympics.

"The OCI will now also commission its own independent inquiry into the ticketing arrangements for Rio 2016."

Mr Hickey has been formally accused under Brazilian law of ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing.

This is a stage in the legal process that is not equivalent to being charged in British or Irish law, but is a preliminary step in that direction. He has denied any wrongdoing.

After his arrest Mr Hickey, from Dublin, stepped aside from his positions as the International Olympic Committee member in Ireland, president of the European Olympic Committees and vice president of the Association of National Olympic Committees.

The investigation centres on the sale of more than 800 tickets to the Games, including more than 20 which police said were intended for use by Ireland's Olympic officials.

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