By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian police arrested on Wednesday, August 17th, the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), Patrick Joseph Hickey for his involvement in an international scheme to sell tickets to this year’s Games, some which were stamped as being given to the OCI. The Irish entity has stated it will also launch an investigation.
“The OCI has launched an immediate investigation with our Authorized Ticket Reseller, Pro10, into how the individuals were allegedly in possession of OCI allocated tickets. The OCI strictly adheres to the IOC regulations around ticket allocation, sale and re-sale. We are treating this matter with the utmost seriousness,” said the statement issued by OCI when the scandal broke.
Hickey, former judo champion and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was charged with selling the tickets at inflated prices. As he was being arrested at his hotel early Wednesday morning he became ill and was transported to a nearby hospital.
The executive is the second Irishman to be arrested in Rio de Janeiro during the Games. Irishman Kevin Mallon, from the hospitality company THG, was arrested during the afternoon of August 5th, opening day for the Olympics, with more than 750 tickets for top games, including the opening and closing ceremonies.
According to local daily newspaper Globo, Mallon had sold opening ceremony tickets for more than US$8,000, but none of those who purchased the tickets were able to attend the spectacle since the police confiscated all the tickets.