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RIO 2016: Head of Irish Olympics arrested for alleged ticket touting inquiry

The Irish International Olympic Committee member Pat Hickey has been arrested in Rio as part of a police investigation into alleged ticketing touting, according to reports.

The 71-year-old, who until last week sat on the IOC executive board, is also the head of the European Olympic Committees that organised last year’s controversial European Games in Baku.

According to the Brazilian newspaper Estadão, which was responsible for a similar investigation during the 2014 World Cup, Hickey was arrested at the “Olympic Family Hotel” in Rio’s Barra da Tijuca by police early on Wednesday morning.

Right after his arrest, Hickey was taken to hospital after “feeling sick” at the time of his arrest. Police said Hickey is accused of plotting with at least six others to illegally sell tickets for the Olympics.

According to Irish website, Pat Hickey “has been formally charged with ticket-touting, forming a cartel and illicit marketing. The maximum sentence he can receive is seven years.

Journalists at the press conference were told that Hickey’s wife tried to convince the arresting officers the 71-year-old had already left Brazil, before he was found in another room, believed to be that of his son.”

Last week, police made a series of arrests of individuals linked to THG, a company that held the rights to resell tickets for the 2012 and 2014 Olympics through the Olympic Committee of Ireland. Police said they seized over 1,000 tickets being sold for well above the asking price, including some bearing the name of the Olympic Committee of Ireland.

Police claimed the tickets were mainly for events such as the opening and closing ceremonies and stood to net THG a profit of $10m. Around 40 other touts have also been arrested by police during the Games.

A former black belt judoka, 71-year-old Hickey has been the head of the Irish Olympic Committee since 1989 and a member of the Executive Borad of the International Olympic Committee IOC member since 2005.

He has been involved in several controversies, including the European Games which were criticised by human rights organisations for the way they were used as a tool to clamp down on freedom of speech. (more here)

Olympic Council of Ireland denies role in alleged Rio ticket touting scandal.

Brazilian police confirmed the arrest of Hickey –

Now the hell has broken out

Hear, Hear! I read Irish comments on Twitter that “corruption is endemic in Ireland.” – Just when I though only Greeks were corrupted…. :p

PS “Pat Hickey is the Irish version of Sepp Blatter” a dad in Ireland commented

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