IOC to aid Brazilian authorities in ‘ticket touting’ probe

Thomas Bach is the first IOC president to miss the opening of the Paralympics since 1988. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Thomas Bach is the first IOC president to miss the opening of the Paralympics since 1988. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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The International Olympic Committee has promised to co-operate with Brazilian authorities in the ticket “touting” investigation that has targeted one of its executive board members.

The statement came as IOC president Thomas Bach missed the opening of the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, where police wanted to interview him about the case.

Patrick Hickey, president of Ireland’s national Olympic committee, was among ten people charged by Brazilian prosecutors on Tuesday with ticket “scalping”, conspiracy and ambush marketing in a case that broke during last month’s Rio Games.

Police investigator Aloysio Falcao said authorities want to speak to Mr Bach about e-mail exchanges between him and Mr Hickey related to ticket allocations to Ireland.

Mr Falcao said police had planned to “summon” Mr Bach when he came to Rio for last night’s opening ceremony of the Paralympics, adding that authorities have no evidence that he knew of the alleged ticket scam.

Mr Bach cancelled plans to attend the opening. The IOC said he would be in Germany instead for the official state mourning ceremony for former West German President Walter Scheel, who died last month at the age of 97.

It is the first time an IOC president has missed the opening of a Paralympics since they were held in conjunction with the Summer Olympics in 1988.

“The IOC cannot comment on a newspaper story nor on the ongoing legal procedure against Hickey for whom the presumption of innocence prevails,” the IOC said in a statement. “For the IOC it goes without saying that it will cooperate on this matter.” It is unclear if Mr Bach will go to Brazil for any of the Paralympics, which last until 18 September.

Mr Hickey went to police headquarters in Rio on Tuesday, but declined to answer additional questions.

“We found enough evidence linking Hickey to this plot to sell tickets by a company that was not authorised,” prosecutor Marcos Kacsaid. “These are tickets that were sold for up to $8,000 (£5,976).”

Seventy-one-year-old Mr Hickey was arrested on 17 August during the Olympics in a dawn raid on his Rio hotel room. After a two-day stay in a local hospital to undergo tests, he was held in a high-security prison complex.

Mr Hickey was freed when a judge ruled that he was not a risk to the public or the investigation. His passport was confiscated, and he must remain in Brazil until the case is concluded.