This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 18 °C Friday 20 July, 2018
Advertisement

Pat Hickey will spend night in Rio hospital as police arrest him over Olympic ticket scandal

Hickey is facing three charges and a possible seven years in jail.

Updated 10.35 pm

Pat Hickey's passport and accreditation Pat Hickey's credentials are presented to the media by Brazilian police. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

  • Irish Olympics boss Pat Hickey has been arrested in Rio.
  • He has temporarily stepped aside from his position.
  • Hickey is facing three charges and up to seven years in jail if found guilty.
  • He was arrested at his hotel. Police say his wife told them he was not in their room; he was later found in another room rented by his son.
  • Hickey was taken to hospital as a precaution after arrest.
  • Arrest follows the arrest of another Irish man for the alleged touting of Olympics tickets.
  • Police say Hickey’s emails and phone are being investigated.
  • Hickey’s passport and accreditation are being held by police.
  • Sports Minister Shane Ross returning to Dublin.

OLYMPIC COUNCIL OF Ireland (OCI) President Pat Hickey has been arrested in Rio.

Hickey is facing three charges; facilitating ticket touting, forming a cartel and illicit marketing, which is a specific law for the Olympic Games.

After his arrest, Hickey was admitted to hospital as a precaution after he informed police of a heart condition. He has since temporarily stepped aside from his position as OCI President.

It’s now been confirmed by the OCI that Hickey will spend the night in Samaritano Hospital “for investigation of chest pain”.

“His condition is stable. In view of his previous cardiac history he will remain in hospital for a further 24 hours,” the OCI said in a statement.

Hickey was arrested in his dressing gown when Brazilian police called to his hotel before 7am this morning.

If charged and convicted of the allegations he faces, the maximum sentence for the offences is seven years in prison.

Police have also said because of his age and medical condition he may be held under house arrest rather than in prison.

Brazilian police hold a press conference today International media at today's police press conference. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Hickey has been formally charged by Rio civil police but his case will now go before the public prosecutions office to decide whether to proceed with the case against him.

He is accused of plotting with at least nine others to sell tickets above face value in a scheme that authorities say netted about €2.66 million in profits.

The development follows the arrest of another Irishman, Kevin James Mallon, in Rio de Janeiro a fortnight ago for allegedly touting Olympic Games tickets at exorbitant prices.

The tickets were allegedly registered to the OCI.

At the press conference today, police say that warrants have been issued for directors of PRO10, the company who were the authorised ticket reseller for Irish Olympics tickets.

Police say that PRO10 had “full knowledge” of the scheme to sell tickets above face value.

In a statement, PRO10 says it is “appalled that allegations” and that they are “utterly untrue and completely without any foundation”.

At a media briefing this afternoon, the IOC said that it will “fully co-operate with police investigation” but that they first need to speak to police.

“Mr Hickey is entitled for everyone and the world to believe that he is innocent until proven guilty,” spokesman Mark Adams added.

Police say Hickey was taken to hospital as a precaution after his arrest when he informed him of a heart condition he suffers from.

Pictures published by ESPN Brazil show Hickey answering the door to police naked before stepping into the bathroom.

Moments later, he walks out in a white bathrobe before being led away by police in the dressing gown.

At least six police officers went to the luxury hotel in the upscale Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood after 6am to arrest him.

Speaking to reporters after the press conference via an RTÉ translator, Aloysio Falcao of the police’s fraud unit described his arrest:

When we went into the room he was very frightened to have civil police at his doorway. We know that he’s an ex-athlete and we know that he played judo but he’s 71-years-old. He has had heart condition recently and we called and ambulance and brought him to hospital as a precautionary measure.

Pat Hickey's passport and accreditation Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey's passport and accreditation displayed by Brazilian police after his arrest. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Police also said that they had arrived at the hotel early this morning but had been told by Hickey’s wife that Hickey wasn’t in the room.

Police, however, found Hickey’s Olympic accreditation badge on the floor, along with his shoes, socks and bag.

Officers then searched the hotel and the Irish Olympics boss was eventually found in another hotel room which turned out to be his son’s.

Police say they found three telephones and tablets in Hickey’s room and that email and message evidence on Hickey’s phone is being investigated.

Seven Olympics tickets were also found in his room including tickets to the opening ceremony.

At this afternoon’s press conference, Hickey’s passport and Olympic accreditation were displayed by Brazilian police.

Ticket touting 

The development comes after Sports Minister Shane Ross travelled to Rio and spoke to Hickey about allegations surrounding the touting of Olympic Games tickets.

This followed news that an Irish man faces charges for allegedly touting Olympic Games tickets at exorbitant prices in Rio de Janeiro.

The tickets that were allegedly being sold were registered to the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), which confirmed that it is carrying out its own inquiries into the case:

We have formally requested the Rio 2016 Organising Committee to pass on immediately all evidence and relevant information from the investigating Brazilian authorities to enable the OCI to advance our inquiries as quickly as possible.

In an interview earlier this week, Hickey said that “there is no impropriety whatsoever from anyone in the OCI or myself in the dealing of tickets”.

Kevin James Mallon was arrested at a Rio hotel as he allegedly sold tickets to around 20 buyers. It was reported Brazilian Police seized 781 tickets being sold at “extremely high prices” of up to €7,200.

Mallon was described as a director at British firm THG, which faced similar accusations during the 2014 World Cup.

THG is part of a group owned by UK millionaire Marcus Evans with Brazilian police saying they are investigating email exchanges between Hickey and Evans during the Olympics.

THG were an official ticket reseller at the games but not for Irish tickets. PRO10 were the authorised ticket reseller for Irish tickets and the company has denied any wrongdoing.

“The Brazilian authorities seem to be dealing with these extremely serious allegations through the media and no contact has been made with PRO10,” a statement said this afternoon.

Notwithstanding, PRO10 utterly rejects any insinuation that they have been involved in selling tickets at inflated prices, ticket “touting” or “scalping”. We abhor such practices.We will vigorously defend our reputation and will contest fully any of these unsubstantiated and false allegations.  We are already taking legal advice on how we deal with these unfounded allegations.

Brazilian police say warrants have been issued for the arrest of PRO10′s Irish directors Michael Glynn, Ken Murray and Eamon Collins.

Reaction 

Minister Ross, who remains in Rio, has said that he will be returning to Dublin “as quickly as possible” because of the “seriousness of this matter”.

He also confirmed that Irish authorities in Brazil have been in contact with Hickey.

“I understand that person has accepted consular assistance and our Consul General is engaging with him,” the minister said.

Given the seriousness of this matter, and in the interests of taking swift and decisive action, I will be returning to Dublin as quickly as possible. I will immediately consult with my officials, with Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan, and with the Attorney General with a view to considering the options open to the Government and decide the best course of action.

Earlier, Ross had tweeted that there was “shell shock” in the city at the arrest of Hickey, who is also the president of the European Olympic Committee.

Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West Noel Rock said the development was “extraordinary and unprecedented”.

- With reporting by Sineád O’Carroll in Rio and Daragh Brophy and Aoife Barry. 

Comments have been disabled for legal reasons.  

Read: Shane Ross not giving up hope on reaching deal with Olympic Council of Ireland>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

Read next:

COMMENTS