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Arrested Irish Olympics chief Pat Hickey stands down

Pat Hickey seized by cops investigating ticket touting

By Sean McGoldrick

Published 18/08/2016

Police call at Pat Hickey’s son’s room as part of investigation into tickets
Police call at Pat Hickey’s son’s room as part of investigation into tickets
Police call at Pat Hickey’s son’s room as part of investigation into tickets

The president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has stood down from his position after being arrested in Rio on a dark day for Irish sport.

Pat Hickey was seized by police at his luxury hotel after a dawn raid by officers investigating allegations of Olympic ticket touting.

Police said Mr Hickey’s wife claimed that her husband had returned to Ireland.

Officers then began a search of the hotel that included the gym, restaurant and breakfast room, later discovering that Mr Hickey was in his son’s room.

More: Rio Olympics allegations only reinforce public fears over staging of greatest show on Earth

Mr Hickey was transferred to hospital, but a judge ordered the 71-year-old must be moved to prison once discharged. He faces a maximum seven-year prison sentence if found guilty.

Mr Hickey was arrested on suspicion of the formation of a criminal association, ticket touting and illicit marketing.

Images captured by ESPN Brazil showed him answering the door to police and then stepping into the bathroom naked. Moments later, he walks out dressed in a white bathrobe.

Police took his passport, Olympic credentials, Olympic tickets, three laptops, two mobile phones and a return air ticket booked for August 22.

Last night Mr Hickey was being guarded at the Hospital Samaritano Barra.

He is accused of plotting with others to sell tickets above face value in a scheme that authorities said netted about €2.5m (£2.2m) in profits.

It also emerged that a senior barrister advised the OCI that Irish Sports Minister Shane Ross needed “to be put back in his box” before a meeting in Rio.

Details of the advice emerged in an email that was released by police in Rio following the arrest of Mr Hickey.

Officers executed a warrant to detain him on suspicion that he was aware that tickets from the OCI had ended up with THG Sports, a company not accredited to sell Olympic tickets.

Police have also obtained court orders for the preventative detention of three suspects, all directors of Pro 10 Sports Management, the Irish-accredited seller of Olympic tickets which police believe diverted the tickets to THG.

Those add to the existing orders against Marcus Evans, the British owner of THG, and four other directors of the company, including Irishman Kevin James Mallon, who was arrested in Rio on August 5.

All face the same charges relating to an alleged scam to sell prized tickets to Rio 2016 at up to 18 times their face value.

Police seized 823 high-end tickets from a THG executive arrested in Rio on August 5.

Tickets with a value of €390 (£338) were being sold for up to €7,090 (£6,137), officers claimed.

“Our detectives arrived at the hotel early,” Ronaldo Oliveira, the head of specialist operations at the Civil Police, said. “When we arrived at the room registered to (Mr Hickey), we found his wife, who was sleeping.”

He claimed she told detectives her husband had gone home to Ireland. “But we saw his shoes, socks and open suitcase in the room (and) we found him in another room registered to his son,” Mr Oliveira said.

A spokesperson for the OCI said that Mr Hickey complied fully with the terms of the warrant for arrest by the Brazilian authorities, but that in light of his health he would step aside.

“Mr Hickey was taken ill as this warrant was served and was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure,” they added.

“In light of the developments and his ill health, Mr Hickey has taken the decision to step aside temporarily as president of the OCI and all Olympic functions until this matter is resolved. He will continue to co-operate with all ongoing inquiries.”

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