International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member Patrick Hickey has been formally charged by Brazilian police today following his arrest in connection with the alleged ticketing scandal involving Ireland here at Rio 2016.
Police have confirmed that the 71-year-old European Olympic Committees (EOC) President has been formally charged with “ticket touting, forming a cartel and illicit marketing”.
The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of seven years.
Brazilian newspaper Estadao reported this morning that Hickey, also President of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), was arrested at the Olympic Family Windsor Marapendi Hotel.
He has stood down from all of his sporting functions – with the OCI, IOC and EOC as well as with the Association of National Olympic Committees, where he is vice-president – until the matter is resolved.Hickey has been a member of the IOC since 1995.
Police claim that he slid his Olympic pass under the door when police came knocking and ran into the next door hotel room, where his son had been staying.
He was then intercepted and transported to Samaritano Hospital after being taken ill with a heart condition. His credentials, including his Olympic accreditation and passport, are still being held by Brazilian police.
insidethegames understands Hickey is still in the hospital but is not being allowed visitors.
It was announced tonight that he will remain in hospital for another 24 hours, where his condition is described as “stable”.
Because of his age and medical condition, it is though likely he will be held under house arrest here rather than in prison when he is released from hospital.
“This morning we arrested the President of the OCI at a hotel in Barra da Tijuca [near the Olympic Park], “ said Ronaldo Oliveira, the head of specialist operations at the Rio Civil Police. “Our detectives arrived at the hotel early. We worked with the hotel. When we arrived at the room that was registered to him, we found only his wife, who was sleeping. She did not want to help us – she lied, saying that he had already gone home to Ireland. But we saw that his shoes, socks and his open suitcase was still in the room.
“We then found him in another room registered to his son – there were hardly any personal possessions in that room.”
The OCI, however, claim he “complied fully” with the terms of the warrant.
Nearly 1,000 tickets from a supply belonging to the OCI were seized by Brazilian police last week.
It follows the arrest of Irishman Kevin James Mallon and interpreter Barbara Carnieri last week, for allegedly being in possession of over 1,000 fraudulently obtained tickets for the Olympics.
Mallon was detained for illegally reselling tickets at inflated prices and faces charges of false marketing and Carnieri was accused of false marketing. Both were employees for British company THG Sports, the authorized ticket re-seller (ATR) in Ireland for London 2012 and Sochi 2014.
Another company, Pro10 Sports Management, are the ATR for these Games, however, meaning THG Sports had no rights to sell any.
Many of the tickets seized were allegedly official OCI-allocated ones, however.
“The allegation that a portion of the OCI’s family and friends tickets were being made available by Pro10 for general sale is utterly untrue and completely without any foundation,” the company have said in a statement.
Brazilian police claim Pro10 was set up in April last year purely to secure the contract to sell the tickets.
Warrants have also now been issued for the arrest of three directors of Pro10; Michael Glynn, Ken Murray and Eamon Collins.
On Monday (August 15), Rio’s Civil Police Fraud Unit announced at a press conference here today that Marcus Evans, the owner of THG Sports, was one of four executives from the company they have issued arrest warrants for.
Warrants have also been issued for Irishman David Gilmore, Briton Martin Studd and Dutchman Maarten Van Os.
Shane Ross, the Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport who has travelled here for meetings with Hickey, has confirmed he will return to Dublin “as quickly as possible” following today’s developments.
“Today, I learned from our ambassador here in Brazil that a second Irish citizen has been arrested in connection with the Brazilian authorities’ investigation into alleged ticket touting,” he said.
“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been informed by the OCI that allegations have been made against its President Mr. Patrick Hickey in relation to facilitating the selling of tickets above face value,” a spokesperson told insidethegames in a statement.
“The IOC respectfully takes note of the decision by Mr. Hickey to step aside as President of the OCI and all other Olympic functions until this matter is fully resolved. Until then, the presumption of innocence prevails.”
The OCI have said: “A warrant of arrest for OCI President Pat Hickey was issued this morning by Brazilian authorities. Contrary to reports, Mr Hickey complied fully with the terms of the warrant. Mr Hickey was taken ill as this warrant was served and was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
“In light of this morning’s developments and his ill health, Mr Hickey has taken the decision to step aside temporarily as President of the OCI and all other Olympic functions (IOC member in Ireland, EOC President, ANOC vice-president) until this matter is fully resolved. Mr Hickey will of course continue to cooperate and assist with all ongoing inquiries.”
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz