Sunday 22 April 2018

Olympic chiefs cut off arrested Hickey's pay

Pat Hickey at the 2015 European Games in Baku. Photo: Jack Guez
Pat Hickey at the 2015 European Games in Baku. Photo: Jack Guez
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

Olympic chiefs have cut off Pat Hickey's payment of €800 a day as Brazilian police questioned him for almost four hours last night about the Olympic ticketing allegations.

Earlier, Mr Hickey was wheeled from a hospital in Rio de Janeiro last night and taken by car to a police station to be quizzed about the accusations.

After four hours, the 71-year-old hid in the back of a police car as he was taken to be medically examined once more before being finally brought to a detention facility pending further investigations.

Mr Hickey stood aside temporarily as Olympics Council of Ireland (OCI) president after his arrest in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.

The alleged ticket scam came to light after fellow Irishman Kevin James Mallon (36) was arrested on the day of the opening ceremony.

Mr Hickey is potentially facing three charges of facilitating ticket touting, formation of a cartel and ambush or illicit marketing. Brazilian detectives say the offences carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

It is possible that he will be sent to the notorious prison Bangu 8 but his lawyers could go to court to request house arrest with an electronic tag.

Last night, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed that it had stopped Mr Hickey's daily expenses of €800 a day, paid to him every day he was in Rio. But IOC officials condemned Rio police for allowing a TV crew to accompany them as a naked Hickey was arrested in a hotel, describing it as "theatre".

IOC member Dick Pound said: "It makes it look like all sports administrators are corrupt. They're not."

Before the latest developments, William O'Brien, first vice-president of the OCI, told media: "We will defend ourselves to the hilt. That's all I can tell you."

But a wall of silence formed around OCI committee members following the arrest.

They include Olympians, CEOs and association presidents, but none have as of yet publicly commented on what has been described as an "embarrassing" situation.

Of the 13 senior officers and executive members on the committee, four declined to comment and five did not reply to requests for a comment. Four could not be reached.

Irish Independent

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