The head of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey has been arrested in Rio over allegedly passing on tickets to the Games to be sold on for extortionate prices.
The 71-year-old, who also heads the Olympic Council of Ireland, reportedly tried to escape when police arrived to arrest him and was later taken to hospital.
A spokesman for Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the BBC: “We are aware of an Irish citizen having been arrested in Rio. The department, through its consulate in Rio, is following up and stands ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”
Police revealed in a statement they had been made aware that Hickey was linked to an international scheme designed to pass Olympic tickets to touts who would then resell them at prices well above their recommended price.
Hickey is reported to have ‘slid his Olympic pass under the door’ before fleeing into another hotel room in the host city where his son had previously been staying when police arrived to arrest him.
It has been suggested that Hickey’s arrest is linked to that of sports executive Kevin James Mallon, also an Irishman, on the afternoon leading up to the Olympic opening ceremony at the Maracanã Stadium on 5 August.
Jamil Chade, a reporter of the Estado do Sao Paolo newspaper, told news agency Reuters that police searched the hotel and gym before finding Hickey in his son's room. He said police called an ambulance to the hotel to treat the former judoka, now Honorary Life President of the Irish Judo Association.
“It took some time for the ambulance to arrive and it went to the back door of the hotel,” said Chade.
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