Watch: Incredible footage as OCI president Pat Hickey is confronted by Brazilian police
* OCI President Pat Hickey arrested by police in Rio
* Faces three charges and a max prison sentence of 7 years
* Temporarily 'steps aside' as president
* Sports Minister returning to Dublin 'immediately'
* Warrants issued for three PRO10 officials
Published 17/08/2016 | 15:39
THIS is the moment Pat Hickey, the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, is confronted by Brazilian police investigating alleged illegal ticket sales at the Rio Olympics.
Police from Rio's Civil Police Fraud Unit went to Mr Hickey's hotel in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of the Brazilian city this morning.
However, in a press conference this afternoon, police said - when they arrived at his hotel room - Mr Hickey's wife told them he had left the country.
Officers found Sylviane Hickey alone in the room but many of her husband's possessions still in the room, police reported.
The Olympics Council of Ireland have reported in a statement that Mr Hickey "complied fully with the terms of the warrant".
This footage shows the moment when police eventually managed to track Mr Hickey to another, otherwise empty, room in the same hotel,registered in the name of his son.
The 71-year-old answered the door naked, and was questioned after putting on dressing robe. He was later arrested, and taken to hospital as a precaution after mentioning he had a heart condition.
His condition is now described as stable and he will remain in hospital for the next 24 hours.
At the press conference, it was revealed that Mr Hickey is facing charges of formation of a criminal association/cartel, sales of illegal ticketing and marketing without authorisation.
He faces a maximum prison sentence of up to seven years if charged and found guilty.
Other information revealed by the police at the press conference included:
*The arrest of Pat Hickey took place at approximately 10am Irish time (6am local time) this morning
*There is evidence of emails and messages between Pat Hickey and Marcus Evans, the director of British company THG Sports
*After being arrested, Hickey cited an existing heart condition and was then brought to a hospital in the district of Barra in Rio
*The Brazilian police have warrants issued for three Pro 10 officials
Hickey 'steps aside'
Pat Hickey has now "taken the decision to step aside temporarily as President of the OCI", according to the Olympic Council of Ireland.
In a statement issued to media, the council said: "A warrant of arrest for OCI President Pat Hickey was issued this morning by Brazilian authorities. "Contrary to reports, Mr Hickey complied fully with the terms of the warrant. Mr Hickey was taken ill as this warrant was served and was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
"In light of this morning’s developments and his ill health, Mr Hickey has taken the decision to step aside temporarily as President of the OCI and all other Olympic functions (IOC member in Ireland, EOC President, ANOC Vice President) until this matter is fully resolved.
"Mr Hickey will of course continue to cooperate and assist with all ongoing enquiries."
Sports Minister Shane Ross has announced he is returning to Dublin "as quickly as possible" in the wake of Mr Hickey's arrest.
The minister released a statement on Wednesday evening saying he understands the arrested person "has accepted consular assistance and our Consul General is engaging with him".
“Given the seriousness of this matter, and in the interests of taking swift and decisive action, I will be returning to Dublin as quickly as possible," he continued.
"I will immediately consult with my officials, with Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan, and with the Attorney General with a view to considering the options open to the Government and decide the best course of action.”
Police executed a warrant to detain Hickey on suspicion he was aware that tickets from the OCI had ended up with THG Sports, a British company not accredited to sell Olympic tickets.
Detectives say they found emails on Mr Hickey’s phone to and from Marcus Evans, the owner of THG.
Mr Evans has repeatedly denied any impropriety. Mr Hickey has also denied any impropriety.
Another email, from a law firm, urged him to put Sports Minister Shane Ross “back in his box” ahead of a meeting between the two.
Police say they believe Pro 10 Sports Management, the current accredited reseller of Olympic tickets in Ireland, was created to allow the diversion of Irish Olympic tickets to THG, which sold them illegally in Brazil for up to 18 times face value, police said.
Police in Brazil have also obtained court orders to detain three directors of Pro 10: Briton Michael Glynn and the Irishmen Ken Murray and Eamonn Collins.
Mr Hickey has previously denied any wrongdoing in relation to the ticket sales. He is president of the European Olympic Committees, the body which gathers the continent's 50 national Olympic committees together.
He was a member of the IOC's coordination commission for the Rio Games, the body in charge of overseeing preparations for the first Olympics held in South America.
His arrest comes after police detained last week a director of international sports hospitality company THG Sports, Kevin Mallon, and a translator employed by the company, alleging that they could have made 10 million reais ($3 million) from buying tickets and reselling them at a higher price.
A Brazilian judge on Monday also ordered the arrest of four more THG Sports executives on accusations of fraudulent ticket sales at the Olympics. A police spokesman, however, said the four men could not be detained because they were not in Brazil.
THG has rejected the accusations against the company and Mallon, saying that more than 1,000 tickets seized by police were being held legally on behalf of authorised Irish reseller Pro 10 and criticising local Olympic organisers.
Hickey is a former judoka and is honorary life president of the Irish Judo Federation. He has been head of the OCI since 1989.
Hickey is also a senior vice president of the Association of National Olympic Committees. In 2015, Hickey led the first European Games organised by the EOC in Baku Azerbaijan.
Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe has confirmed this afternoon that the Government is aware of the arrest of an Irish citizen in Brazil.
"The only official information I have at the moment is that out ambassador in Brazil has confirmed to us that an Irish person has been arrested.
"That person was arrested this morning. I do not currently have information about who that person was or the circumstances of their arrest," Mr O'Donohoe said.
Asked if he has confidence in Mr Hickey's leadership of the OCI, the minister said that was a matter for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
"Ministers Ross and O'Donovan are currently making an assessment of the situation and I'll wait to hear back from them regarding their views on how this matter is being dealt with," he said.
Sports Minister Shane Ross has tweeted: "Shell shock here in Rio".
Meanwhile, PRO10 Sports Management released a statement shortly after the incident and said they would "like to again clarify that PRO10 has at all times acted properly and fully in line with ATR guidelines".
The statement continued: "The allegation that a portion of the OCI’s Family and Friends tickets were being made available by PRO10 for general sale is utterly untrue and completely without any foundation.
"PRO10 is appalled that allegations are being made against the company without any attempt to ascertain the facts.
"The Brazilian authorities seem to be dealing with these extremely serious allegations through the media and no contact has been made with PRO10.
"Notwithstanding, PRO10 utterly rejects any insinuation that they have been involved in selling tickets at inflated prices, ticket “touting” or “scalping”. We abhor such practices.
"We will vigorously defend our reputation and will contest fully any of these unsubstantiated and false allegations. We are already taking legal advice on how we deal with these unfounded allegations.
"PRO10 has acted with integrity and has been dragged into an issue in relation to ticketing simply because of its status as ATR.
"All tickets sold by PRO10 as the Irish ATR for the Rio 2016 Olympics were sold fully in line with the ATR guidelines. These tickets were made available for sale through the authorised ATR process and were sold to legitimate customers of PRO10 at face value plus the allowed ATR reseller fee."
Meanwhile, Judge Mariana Tavares Shu, from a special Olympic court, confirmed the detention orders for Irish citizens Patrick Joseph Hickey, Ken Murray and Eamonn Anthony Stephen Collins and British man Michael Glynn in a statement.
The order is to prevent any of those in Brazil from leaving, as happened with other individuals during a touting investigation during the 2014 World Cup.
The statement reads: "Preventive detention ensures the smooth running of the criminal process and the application of criminal law.
"All involved are foreigners and do not have permanent residence in this country, so it seems likely that, if they remained at liberty, they might avoid justice.
"I cite the example of James Sinton… of the Marcus Evans Group at the time of the World Cup 2014, who, once set free, escaped to his country of origin."
The International Olympic Committee has distanced itself from the ticket tout scandal, saying it is an issue for Ireland.
IOC Communications Director Mark Adams told a press conference this afternoon that the body wanted to “make clear” that the controversy is the result of “allegations around the Irish national Olympic committee of which Pat Hickey is the president”.
“I presume and I would hope that they have sorted out legal counsel for him but it’s very much at this stage something for the Irish national Olympic committee,” he said
There will be no emergency meeting of the IOC’s executive committee despite Mr Hickey being a member of the Committee.
“We follow the system of justice here and that’s how things are done in Brazil. He’s innocent until proven guilty, there aren’t any facts yet or even any allegations,” Mr Adams said.
He added that the IOC had no prior knowledge that Mr Hickey would be arrested, saying: “I don’t think anyone from our team knew that the police were coming this morning.”
Mário Andrada, Communications Executive Director of the IOC, said the organisation has been working with police to counteract ticket touts.
“The goal here is to produce a system whereby no illegal action are taken,” he said.