Brazil nabs Olympic official for 'illegal' ticket sales

Patrick Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, steps down "temporarily" after his arrest in Rio.

    A senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) official has stepped down temporarily following his arrest over alleged involvement in illegal Olympic ticket sales at the Rio Games.

    Patrick Hickey has been replaced by William O'Brien as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), the OCI said on Wednesday just hour after Hickey's arrest.    

    Brazilian police have recommended charging Hickey and three executives of a Dublin-based ticket reseller for the Games, with illegal resale of tickets, criminal association and fraudulent marketing.  

    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

    Prosecutors have estimated the profits from the black market tickets sales at $3m.

    Aside from being a president of his country's Olympic committee, Hickey has been an executive board member of the IOC since 2012. He also serves on the European Olympic Comittees (EOC). 

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

    The IOC said it was "still in the process of establishing the facts".

    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 hospital were unconfirmed.

    Follow our Rio 2016 coverage

    Two people were arrested earlier in August after 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.

    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


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