Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey arrested in Rio

This Olympic games has just got even worse for Ireland with the news that the OCI head honcho was lifted this morning by Rio’s Civil Police Fraud Unit at a hotel in the Barra district of the city.

Police in Rio have said they will hold a news conference at 1.30pm Irish time.

Mr Hickey is also a member of the International Olympic Committee.

In a statement on its website, the OCI said:

“The OCI is aware of the media stories regarding Pat Hickey and we are seeking total clarity on the situation before we comment further.

“Any updates will be made via the OCI website”.

The BBC, quoting police sources, said Hickey, who is also head of the European Olympic Committees, tried to escape when the police arrived at the hotel, saying he fled into an adjacent hotel room where his son had been staying until recently. They also claim he slid his Olympic pass under the door.

Meanwhile Dublin TD Noel Rock, has said the arrest marks a dark day for Irish sport:

“This is simply extraordinary and marks a dark day for Irish sport. It is a source of deep shame that it has come to this, with reports that the President of the Olympic Council of Ireland has been arrested at the Olympics in Rio. This is extraordinary and unprecedented, and casts a dark shadow over our Olympics.

“For the last week it has been clear to anyone watching this that there were more questions than answers. I have consistently called for the OCI to come clean on this matter. I regret that more robust action was not taken sooner and this charade was allowed to go on for a week. The OCI receives a substantial portion of taxpayer funding, and answers are now both urgent and necessary.

“I am now calling on the Minister to implement an external investigation of the OCI and all of its commercial dealings with immediate effect. The Irish public deserve answers as to what exactly is going on with the OCI, and I believe the Minister must now get these answers as a matter of urgency”.

Two people were arrested earlier this month in relation to allegations that Olympic tickets, earmarked for the OCI, were sold on the black market in Rio de Janeiro.

THG Sports director – Irishman Kevin Mallon – and an interpreter Barbara Carnieri were arrested on charges of the fraudulent marketing of tickets.

Mr Mallon was detained on suspicion of illegally reselling tickets at inflated prices and faces charges of false marketing. Ms Carnieri was detained on suspicion of false marketing.

In an interview last week, Hickey said there was no impropriety whatsoever from himself, or anyone in the OCI, in the dealing of tickets for the Games.

The tickets involved in the controversy were issued to Pro-10 Sports Management by the Rio 2016 organiser, he said.