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Hickey discharged from Rio hospital and taken to police station for interview

Published 18/08/2016

File photo dated 1/8/2012 of Patrick Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, who has stepped aside from his role after being arrested in Brazil as part of an investigation into the alleged illegal sale of tickets for the Rio games.
File photo dated 1/8/2012 of Patrick Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, who has stepped aside from his role after being arrested in Brazil as part of an investigation into the alleged illegal sale of tickets for the Rio games.

Senior Olympic official Patrick Hickey has been discharged from hospital and taken to a police station as part of an investigation into the illegal sale of tickets for the Rio Games.

Hickey, who has stood down from his role as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland while the investigation is ongoing, was arrested by Rio police at his hotel on Wednesday morning.

But the 71-year-old was immediately taken to the nearby Samaritano Hospital where he was monitored because of chest pains until approximately 4pm local time on Thursday.

A short OCI statement said he was "accompanied to a police station to complete a disposition".

Hickey, who also sits on the International Olympic Committee's executive board and is the president of the European Olympic Committee, has been formally accused under Brazilian law of ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing.

This is a legal process that is not equivalent to being charged in British law but is a preliminary step in that direction.

The dawn arrest of Hickey was a dramatic turn in a story that has been building since the Games' opening ceremony on August 5.

Kevin Mallon, a director of THG Sports, which specialises in corporate and sports hospitality and is owned by Ipswich Town FC owner Marcus Evans, was arrested after police seized about 1,000 tickets for the Olympics in a hotel, some of which were part of the Irish allocation.

Rio police said many of these tickets were marked as coming from the OCI, as each national Olympic committee is given an amount of tickets by the local organising committee to give away or re-sell but with strict limits on the mark-up.

PRO 10, the OCI's authorised ticket reseller for the Games, said it had legitimate customers for its tickets and Mallon was simply distributing them on PRO10's behalf.

THG Sports and PRO10 deny any wrongdoing, as has Hickey, although there has been no fresh word from him since being arrested in his bathrobe at the Windsor Marapendi hotel in Barra.

Irish consular officials in Brazil have already offered their "assistance if requested" but Ireland's Sports Minister Shane Ross appears to be in a less charitable mood.

He flew into Rio on Sunday and met Hickey for crisis talks on the growing scandal but was left "stunned" by the OCI president's refusal to allow an independent to join the internal inquiry into the matter.

The issue is also threatening to become embarrassing for the IOC, as journalists at the daily briefings in Rio have repeatedly asked for more details on how tickets are allocated to national Olympic committees, what rules are in place to regulate their sale and what possible punishments the IOC would consider for breaches of those rules.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams has said it is also trying to get to the bottom of this and would be fully cooperating with the police.

''We don't actually know what the charges are or what the evidence is yet," said Adams on Wednesday.

''What I can tell you is that it involves 1,000 of the six million tickets. It involves the (national Olympic committee) of Ireland, which has already launched an inquiry and we wait to see what comes from that."

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