An executive with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was arrested Wednesday over his alleged involvement in a ticket-scalping scheme, according to a new report. Patrick Hickey is part of an apparent ring of at least six other people who collectively conspired to re-sell tickets for the international sporting event at rates far higher than their face value, the Associated Press reported.
Hickey was facing as many as seven years in prison for his charges, which include ticket-touting, forming a cartel and illicit marketing, according to a series of tweets from Irish journalist Neil O'Riordan.
Aside from his role with the IOC, Hickey is also the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), which issued a formal statement upon hearing of the accusations against its leader. "The OCI is aware of the media stories regarding Pat Hickey and we are seeking total clarity on the situation before we comment further," the brief statement read before continuing. "Any updates will be made via the OCI website."
Ticket scalping has been running rampant at the Rio Olympics, according to multiple reports, but Hickey's alleged involvement is by far the most high-profile instance. Another Irish Olympics executive was arrested last week as part of the investigation and a number of other executives are considered additional suspects, the Telegraph reported.
The attendance at various Olympic events in Rio has been apparently low as venues have routinely been televised with a dearth of spectators, depending on the sport. Some of the event's organizers have conveniently blamed that trend in part on ticket scalping, Yahoo! Sports reported. It can also be attributed to people coming to participate in the overall Olympic festivities and not to view one event in particular, an Olympic spokesperson told Yahoo.
“We also noticed, in the last two days, that people who buy tickets to a given event, their main interest is to come and enjoy the [Olympic Park] and be here, rather than attend an Olympic event,” Mario Andrada said.