RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – A senior international Olympic official was taken to a hospital Wednesday after police came to his hotel to arrest him as part of a probe into ticket scalping.
Ireland’s Patrick Hickey, a member of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board, is accused of plotting with at least six others to illegally sell tickets for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, police said.
“Continuing our investigation, civil police discovered the involvement of Patrick (Hickey) in the international scheme of ticket scalping,” the Rio police fraud unit said.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Hickey was taken to a local hospital by ambulance at about 7:30 a.m.
“We will fully cooperate with the police investigation if there is one,” Adams said. “We don’t know what the allegations or charges are yet.”
He said the allegations centered on 1,000 tickets belonging to the Irish national Olympic committee, of which Hickey is the president.
“We have full confidence in the system here, and we believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty or any charges filed,” Adams said. “Let’s wait to see what to see what charges are even made yet.”
Hickey, 71, is also president of the European Olympic Committees, and has served on the IOC executive board since 2012.
“Today’s arrest shows that the law must be followed,” top police investigator Ricardo Barbosa told a news conference. “Even more when we are talking about the biggest sporting event that should uphold ethics and an international spirit. We found out that the Irish Olympic Committee ended up facilitating the ticket scalping scheme.”
Barbosa said police arrived at the IOC’s beachfront hotel at 6 a.m., and found only Hickey’s wife, who refused to tell them where he was.
However, police found Hickey’s Olympic accreditation badge on the floor, along with his shoes, socks and bag. They asked for the hotel’s help and found him in his son’s room, Barbosa said.
Hickey felt unwell and was taken by police to a nearby hospital. There was no immediate word on his condition.
The Olympic Council Ireland said it is “aware of the media stories regarding Pat Hickey and we are seeking total clarity on the situation before we comment further.”
An Irish executive was arrested last week in the same investigation and four other executives are wanted in the probe.
Agents have seized more than 1,000 tickets that were being sold for high fees and allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland. The company suspected is British hospitality provider THG Sports.
One of the executives wanted is Marcus Evans, who owns Marcus Evans Group, the parent company for THG Sports and the owner of English soccer club Ipswich Town.
Kevin James Mallon, one of the heads of THG Sports, was arrested at the start of the Rio Games along with an employee who was working as an interpreter. Police say Mallon had fake tickets.
After those arrests, the Olympic Council of Ireland said it would investigate why some of its tickets were in their possession. The OCI name was visible on tickets displayed by police, but the Irish 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 at the time.