IOC executive Patrick Hickey was discharged Thursday from a hospital and went straight to a Rio de Janeiro police station to be questioned about an Olympics ticket scalping investigation.
The 71-year-old Irishman was arrested in a dawn raid Wednesday in the IOC hotel, but he immediately was hospitalized with chest pains.
The Olympic Council of Ireland told The Associated Press that a member of its Rio Games delegation was allowed to go to Hickey’s bedside to be informed of his decision to step aside temporarily from his IOC duties.
A member of the IOC’s ruling executive board, Hickey was in charge of the influential umbrella group for Europe’s Olympic bodies.
Hickey is facing charges of conspiracy, ticket scalping and ambush marketing after allegations by Brazilian authorities that he was part of a plot to make $3 million by illegally selling Rio Games tickets above face value.
Hickey was filmed Thursday being taken out of the hospital in a wheelchair.
“The Olympic Council of Ireland can confirm that Pat Hickey has been discharged from hospital and has been accompanied to a police station to complete a deposition,” the Irish organization said in a statement.
There was no indication from authorities how long Hickey will be held.
The IOC told AP that it has stopped Hickey’s $900-a-day per diem.
IOC officials condemned Rio police for allowing a TV crew to accompany them as a naked Hickey was arrested in a hotel room.
IOC member Dick Pound expressed surprise at the “theater” involved in the police actions.
“It makes it look like all sports administrators are corrupt. They’re not,” Pound told the AP. “There’s a big risk for them if they’ve got it wrong. … Maybe it’s meant to be a deterrent for other ticket scalpers.”
Police said Ireland’s Olympic body helped transfer tickets to an unauthorized vendor who would set high fees and disguise the transaction as a hospitality package.
Kevin James Mallon, from a British hospitality provider suspected in the plot, was arrested in Rio last week. Authorities have also issued warrants for four more executives at the company, THG.
Some Irish tickets for the Olympics’ opening ceremony with a face value of $1,400 were sold for $8,000, police said.
After describing the police raid on Hickey’s hotel room as an “affront,” IOC Vice President John Coates defended his colleague.
“I know from Pat he had no idea that the representative from this company distributing these tickets was here distributing these tickets, so I look at the charges and really don’t understand the basis of the indignity that he was put through,” Coates said.
“Surely if they wanted to ascertain if there was any connection between him and the guy that was here, that should have been a discussion,” he said. “I think the members are all very worried about his well-being and the prospect of him being incarcerated.”