Arrested OCI chief Pat Hickey 'to be taken to police station'

Pat Hickey (R) arrives at a police station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 18 August Image copyright AFP
Image caption Pat Hickey complained of heart problems as he was arrested on Wednesday

Arrested Olympic official Pat Hickey has been released from hospital to be questioned at a Rio police station.

Mr Hickey complained of heart problems as he was arrested on Wednesday over the alleged illegal sale of tickets.

He has temporarily stepped down from his position as the Olympic Council of Ireland's president, although he denies the allegations.

Mr Hickey was dramatically arrested at his Rio hotel on Wednesday morning.

He was escorted off the premises wearing his dressing gown to face questions about his alleged role in a scheme to sell Olympic tickets for higher than their face value.

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) said on Thursday night that Mr Hickey had been "discharged from hospital" and "accompanied to a police station to complete a deposition".

Image copyright TASSO MARCELO
Image caption Pat Hickey was discharged from hospital on Thursday

The Republic of Ireland's sports minister has suggested there will be an independent inquiry into the scandal.

'Absolutely shattered'

Speaking after arriving at Dublin Airport from Brazil on Thursday, Shane Ross said a decision about the nature of the inquiry would be taken after he discussed the issue with the Irish attorney general on Friday afternoon.

Mr Ross said the situation had moved a long way since his meeting with Mr Hickey on Monday, and that he had been "absolutely shattered" by Mr Hickey's attitude.

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Media captionIrish Sports Minister Shane Ross says the OCI will have to accept an independent inquiry. Footage courtesy of RTE

But he said his department needed to be sensitive and would do nothing to prejudice the investigation in Rio de Janeiro.

William O'Brien, who has temporarily taken over from Mr Hickey as OCI president, visited his former boss in hospital.

Speaking to reporters outside Samaritano Hospital in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday night, Mr O'Brien said OCI officials had been granted "restricted access" during their visit.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Interim OCI president William O'Brien said he could not comment on the ticket sales allegations "while the legal case is going on".

He added that Mr Hickey did not discuss the allegations against him. In an interview with Irish broadcaster RTE last week, Mr Hickey denied any wrongdoing in relation to ticket sales.

"He has made no comment because, as you can understand, he is having all sorts of tests inside," said Mr O'Brien.

The interim OCI president said he also could not comment on the ticket sales allegations "while the legal case is going on".

However, he did say the OCI would "defend ourselves to the hilt".

Asked if that included defending Mr Hickey too, Mr O'Brien replied: "Exactly, yes."

Mr Hickey was a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as well as the top Olympic official in Ireland.

Who's who in Irish Olympic tickets controversy?

  • Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) - The Irish national Olympic committee which is the state-funded body responsible for selecting, training and preparing Irish athletes to take part in the summer and winter Olympics
  • International Olympic Committee (IOC) - The leading organiser of the Olympic games and the highest authority in the Olympic movement
  • Pat Hickey - President of the Olympic Council of Ireland
  • THG Sports - A corporate and sports hospitality company based in London.
  • Pro 10 Management - An Irish sports management company based in Lucan, County Dublin, which was appointed by the Olympic Council of Ireland as its Authorised Ticket Re-seller (ATR) in Ireland
  • Shane Ross - The Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport

The 71-year-old temporarily stood down from all his roles following his arrest, but is now facing a call to resign.

Irish parliamentarian Noel Rock told the BBC that, before his arrest, Mr Hickey had "stonewalled" when he was questioned about the tickets scandal.

"He refused to answer straightforward, basic questions which were perfectly reasonable for the minister, who after all is responsible for the funding of the Olympic Council [of Ireland]," Mr Rock said.

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