Tickets of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games seized by Rio police. (Xinhua)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Patrick Hickey, a member of the International Olympic Committee executive board, has been detained over alleged illegal ticket sales plot, the IOC said on Wednesday.
Hickey, 71, is president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) as well as president of the European Olympic Committees, and has been serving on the IOC executive board since 2012.
He was taken to a hospital after Brazilian police raided on his hotel as part of a probe into ticket scalping. A police video appears to show Hickey nude when police entered his hotel room, before returning to the bathroom to put on a robe.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams confirmed the arrest and hospitalization of Hickey. "The police have been here, I can confirm that, and Patrick Hickey has gone to a hospital," Adams told a press conference. "When we know some facts, when police give us some facts, we'll let you know."
"Now we have to wait the legal procedure in Brazil to see what's the fact. We can't give comments on Hickey until the investigation finishes, let's wait and see," he added.
Hickey is accused of plotting with at least six others to illegally sell tickets for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Rio police said.
"Continuing our investigation, civil police discovered the involvement of Patrick in the international scheme of ticket scalping," the Rio police fraud unit said.
Irishman Kevin Mallon was picked up at a hotel near the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, along with a translator, last Friday. Brazilian police said they recovered more than 1,000 tickets, believed to have been earmarked for the OCI, which were being sold for more than face value.
Mallon is an executive at sports hospitality company THG Sports which was the OCI's authorized ticket reseller for the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. The OCI says Stephen Hickey, the son of Patrick Hickey, was a temporary manager at THG Sports at the time of the Olympic Games in London.
After those arrests, the OCI said it would investigate why some of its tickets were in their possession. The OCI name was visible on tickets displayed by police, but Hickey said they had "no knowledge" of the two men arrested.
"The OCI strictly adheres to the IOC regulations around ticket allocation, sale and re-sale. We are treating this matter with the utmost seriousness," the council said after the arrests.
Irish Sports Minister Shane Ross said in light of the arrest he will be returning to Dublin as soon as possible and consult with officials and the Attorney-General as to the best course of action for the government.
In a statement, Ross says: "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. I understand that person has accepted consular assistance and our Consul General is engaging with him."