Police have arrested a member of the IOC's executive board over the alleged illegal sale of tickets to events at the Rio Games. Patrick Hickey would "temporarily" step away from the IOC, Ireland's Olympic Committee said.
Brazilian police confirmed on Wednesday that they had arrested Patrick Hickey, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from Ireland, at his hotel in Rio de Janeiro several hours earlier.
The fraud unit of Rio's police department said in a statement that Hickey stood accused of conspiring with at least six others to illegally sell tickets at well over face value.
Hickey, 71, who has been a member of the IOC's executive board since 2012, is also the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and the European Olympic Committee.
Having previously said in a tweet that it would issue an update on developments in due course, the OCI issued a statement later on Wednesday saying that Hickey would lay down his IOC duties during the investigation.
"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," Ireland's Olympic Council said. "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 ... until this matter is fully resolved."
Hickey's arrest followed earlier operations by police against what they said was an international ticket scalping ring. Police have said that they have also seized more than 1,000 tickets allocated to the OCI over the course of their investigation.
Two people were arrested earlier this month amid allegations that tickets allocated to the OCI were being sold on the black market in Rio. Among those arrested was one of the heads of the sports hospitality company THG Sports. Kevin Mallon, a director at THG sports, who is also an Irish national, is alleged to have illegally sold Olympics tickets at massively inflated prices.
Hickey was the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and collecting his $900-a-day games per diem as an IOC executive board member. Once a judo athlete, he lead the Irish team at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics before being elected an IOC member in 1995. He joined the ruling executive board four years ago.
He was taken to hospital late on Wednesday complaining of chest pains.
msh, pfd/dv (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)