Police case against IOC executive seized naked by Rio police

FILE - In this June 11, 2015 file photo, Patrick Hickey, the head of the European Olympic Committee speaks during a news conference on the eve of the opening of the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. Rio de Janeiro authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Hickey accused of scalping tickets for the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)

The IOC hierarchy is used to being treated like royalty in Olympic host cities

RIO DE JANEIRO — The IOC hierarchy is used to being treated like royalty in Olympic host cities. Brazilian police afforded Patrick Hickey no such deference early Wednesday, bringing a TV crew to film the IOC executive being arrested in a Rio de Janeiro hotel room while naked.

The powerful head of Europe's Olympic bodies is now a criminal suspect, accused of being part of a plot to rake in $3 million by illegally selling Rio Olympic tickets above face value:

Here is a closer look at the case.

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WHO IS HICKEY?

Until Wednesday morning, 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.

The former judo athlete built his powerbase through the sport, going on to lead the entire 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.

The Irish body announced that Hickey would be relinquishing all Olympic roles while being investigated for scalping.

The OCI website still describes Hickey as "probably the top ranked Irish administrator in the world of international sport and, as well as being a prime mover in the IOC, he is president of the powerful European Olympic Committees organization."

In that role, Hickey launched the European Games, which were staged for the first time last year in Baku amid criticism over Azerbaijan's human rights record. Hickey has been struggling to find a host to stage the 2019 games.

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POLICE CASE

Conspiracy, ticket scalping and ambush marketing are the charges facing the 71-year-old Hickey. Police can't start to question Hickey yet as he became ill while being arrested in the Barra da Tijuca district of Rio and taken to a hospital.

National Olympic committees receive tickets, some of which are sold legally and wind up in package deals.

But in the biggest example of alleged profiteering, police said some Irish tickets for the Rio opening ceremony with a face value of $1,400 were sold for $8,000.

Police believe tickets from Ireland's official allocation were transferred to an unauthorized vendor, British company THG, who would set high fees and disguise the transaction as a hospitality package. Pro 10 Sports Management is the authorized company to sell Rio Games tickets in Ireland.

"Our conclusion is that the creation of Pro10 was a maneuver used to transfer the tickets to THG, which did not obtain the accreditation to sell tickets," said Aloysio Falcao, an investigator with the Rio police fraud unit.

According to Falcao that was to enable "ticket scalping disguised as hospitality packages."

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OTHER SUSPECTS

The investigation was no surprise for Hickey. Rio police made their first arrests last week, detaining THG executive Kevin James Mallon who was found with games tickets designated to the Irish Olympic body. At the time, Hickey denied any wrongdoing by the OCI but Irish legislators said they wanted to question him about the tickets.

Brazilian authorities have also issued warrants for four more executives at THG, including Marcus Evans, who owns its parent company as well as English soccer club Ipswich Town. Evans regularly faces scrutiny for his sale of tickets for major sporting events.

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WORLD CUP CASE

If officials being arrested on ticket-scalping charges at an international sports event in Brazil sounds familiar that's because it happened at the 2014 World Cup.

Raymond Whelan, a British director of FIFA ticketing partner Match Services, was arrested in a blaze of publicity at a luxury Copacabana hotel two years ago. Around eight months later, a Rio court ruled there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him for the illegal sale of tickets.

Coincidentally, Match's loss-making operations at the 2010 World Cup received a boost when THG staff were arrested for ticket selling in South Africa, using laws that FIFA supported being introduced for the tournament.

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