Irish Olympic Council, government order ticket probes

The Olympic Council of Ireland and the country's government said on Friday they would commission separate independent probes into accusations of illegal ticket sales that led to the arrest of its longtime president Patrick Hickey in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian police arrested Patrick Hickey, Europe's top Olympic official, in a dawn raid of his Rio beachfront hotel on Wednesday, in connection with an investigation into illegal sales of Olympics tickets.   -  AP

The Olympic Council of Ireland and the country's government said on Friday they would commission separate independent probes into accusations of illegal ticket sales that led to the arrest of its longtime President Patrick Hickey in Rio de Janeiro.

The OCI also said it would scrap a previously announced internal inquiry, in a complete u-turn only days after saying no independent monitoring of its investigation was needed.

“The OCI will now commission its own independent inquiry into the ticketing arrangements for Rio 2016. The previously announced internal inquiry by the OCI has been discontinued,” it said in a statement.

The OCI said it would also cooperate fully with any state inquiry, which was later outlined by Sports Minister Shane Ross who said the government would appoint a judge next week to lead its probe into events relating to ticketing at the Rio Games.

Brazilian police arrested Hickey, Europe's top Olympic official, in a dawn raid of his Rio beachfront hotel on Wednesday, in connection with an investigation into illegal sales of Olympics tickets.

The police said they had discovered evidence linking the 71-year-old, who headed the OCI since 1988 before temporarily stepping aside on Wednesday, to an international scheme to illegally pass Olympic tickets to touts who were reselling them at well above their original price.

Police also issued arrest warrants for three executives of Dublin-based PRO10 Sports Management.

They are recommending charges against Hickey and the executives for illegal ticket resale, criminal association and fraudulent marketing. Prosecutors have yet to decide on any charges.

Police allege PRO10 funnelled tickets to another company, THG Sports, whose director was arrested this week in Brazil. PRO10 and THG have denied wrongdoing.

Hickey has yet to make any comment. He was admitted to hospital with chest pains after his arrest, but was discharged on Thursday and on Friday was sent to Brazil's Bangu maximum security prison, a penitentiary complex which houses some of Brazil's most dangerous inmates.

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