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European Olympic Committee head Hickey arrested in Rio for alleged sale of tickets

Friday, August 19th 2016 - 10:50 UTC
Full article 11 comments
Brazilian police said that when officers went to Hickey's hotel room they found his wife who told them her husband had left Rio de Janeiro for Ireland Brazilian police said that when officers went to Hickey's hotel room they found his wife who told them her husband had left Rio de Janeiro for Ireland
More than 700 tickets organized in envelopes clearly marked for sale were found in a safe with Mr Mallon. Police estimate potential profits of US$3.1m. More than 700 tickets organized in envelopes clearly marked for sale were found in a safe with Mr Mallon. Police estimate potential profits of US$3.1m.
Hickey is president of Europe's Olympic Committees, which gathers the continent's 50 national Olympic committees. His passport and Olympic ID were seized Hickey is president of Europe's Olympic Committees, which gathers the continent's 50 national Olympic committees. His passport and Olympic ID were seized

Police in Brazil investigating illegal Olympic ticket sales have arrested the head of the European Olympic Committees, Irishman Patrick Hickey, 71, who is suspected of being involved in a scheme to sell tickets for higher than their face value. He was taken to hospital as a precaution, and will probably stay the night there, police said.

 The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) said he had stood down temporarily from his roles after being arrested.

Brazilian police said that when officers went to Hickey's hotel room on Wednesday morning, they found his wife there with his Olympic credentials. Mrs. Hickey told them her husband had left Rio de Janeiro for Ireland at the weekend, they said.

With the help of the hotel they began a search and found Hickey in the room next door, they added. While police said they had reason to believe he was trying to escape, a video apparently of the arrest on the ESPN Brazil sports news website shows Hickey answering the door naked to officers.

Police said the arrest was related to that of fellow Irishman Kevin James Mallon on the day of the Olympic opening ceremony. More than 700 tickets organized in envelopes clearly marked for sale were found in a safe with Mr Mallon, Detective Ricardo Barbosa told BBC.

Police estimate the potential profits of the alleged scheme at 10m Reals (£2.4m; US$3.1m).

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it would co-operate with any police investigation. Irish broadcaster RTE reports that Mr Hickey faces three potential charges: facilitating ticket touting, forming a cartel, and “ambush” or illicit marketing.

In an interview with RTE last week, Mr Hickey denied any wrongdoing in relation to ticket sale.

A spokesman for Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the BBC: “We are aware of an Irish citizen having been arrested in Rio. The department, through its consulate in Rio, is following up and stands ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”

Sports minister Shane Ross, who is in Rio and who met Hickey at the weekend to discuss the ticket sales allegations, tweeted simply: “Shell shock here in Rio.” He later said he was returning to Dublin as quickly as possible for crisis talks.

Hickey is president of the European Olympic Committees, the body which gathers the continent's 50 national Olympic committees together. His passport and Olympic ID were seized and were later displayed to photographers at the press conference.

Mallon is the director of THG Sports, a British sports hospitality company alleged to have resold tickets for Rio 2016 illegally. Police suspect the tickets found with him when he was arrested on 5 August were to be sold at prices of up to £6,000 (US$7,800) each.

THG Sports said Mallon had not sold or sought to sell tickets but had been holding them for collection by clients of the authorized Irish ticket reseller, Pro 10 Management. But Detective Barbosa told the BBC that investigators believed “Pro 10 was created as a means for acquiring tickets to be resold by THG” as the Irish Olympic Committee had wanted THG to sell tickets for Rio 2016, he alleged.

THG Sports is owned by Marcus Evans Group, which also owns Ipswich Town Football Club. Marcus Evans was one of four names on a list of arrest warrants issued by a Brazilian judge on Monday in connection with the alleged reselling of Rio 2016 tickets.

None of those four people is thought to be in Brazil and police there have said they will pursue the matter with Interpol. A further three arrest warrants were issued on Wednesday, Brazilian police said, for directors of Pro 10 Management.

Top Comments

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  • Brasileiro

    These bandits always did it in Europe and the United States.

    When they commit crimes in Brazil, they are reported and investigated.

    EU and US are countries where barbarism prevails. The people have no education.

    Aug 19th, 2016 - 11:10 am 0
  • The Voice

    Nostril, please take a nice walk through a Rio Favela. Preferably staring at your iPhone with a laptop bag over your shoulder. Then you will experience barbarism. Then, if you survive, come and try the same thing in Peckham.

    Let us know how you get on… .

    Aug 19th, 2016 - 11:47 am 0
  • Brasileiro

    @2
    You try to do the same thing in the slums of Miami or Los Angeles.

    Aug 19th, 2016 - 12:16 pm 0
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