The head of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) has been arrested in Rio de Janeiro as part of an investigation into allegedly illegal Olympic ticket sales, Brazilian police confirmed.

Police on Wednesday said Patrick Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), was involved in illegally passing on Olympics tickets to scalpers who subsequently sold them at exorbitant prices.

Al Jazeera's Joanna Gasiorowska, reporting from Rio de Janeiro, said the "most serious" charge against Hickey is "forming a cartel" to sell the tickets.  

Police bust multimillion-dollar Olympic ticket scam

The Rio Times reported that Hickey tried to sell tickets stamped as "being given to the OCI".

The OCI did not immediately confirm the arrest but said in a short statement it "is aware of the media stories regarding Pat Hickey and we are seeking total clarity on the situation before we comment further".

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was "still in the process of establishing the facts".

Hickey, 71, has been a member of the IOC executive board since 2012.

Escape attempt

According to Brazilian media reports, Hickey tried to escape when police arrived to arrest him in his hotel room in the Barra district of Rio.

Hickey reportedly fell ill after being arrested and received medical attention, though reports about him being taken to the hospital remain unconfirmed.

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Two people were arrested earlier in August amid allegations that Olympic tickets earmarked for Ireland's Olympic Council were sold on the black market in Rio de Janeiro.

One of those individuals was sports hospitality company THG Sports director Kevin Mallon, an Irishman who was alleged to have resold Rio Olympics tickets illegally at inflated prices of up to $7,800.

Hickey's arrest followed Mallon's from the day of the opening ceremony. When he was arrested on August 5, Mallon was in possession of more than 800 top-class tickets for the Games.

Four further THG directors are also wanted in connection with the probe, including Marcus Evans, owner of the Marcus Evans Group, which is the parent company to THG.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies