Pat Hickey has stepped aside as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland – and from all his from all Olympic roles – after being arrested in Rio as part of the investigation into alleged illegal ticket sales.
Mr Hickey is facing three charges of facilitating ticket touting, formation of a cartel and ambush or illicit marketing.
Detectives in Rio have told the media that Mr Hickey could face up to seven years in jail, if found guilty of those charges.
The OCI said Mr Hickey had stepped down temporarily from his role with the Irish body as well as an International Olympic Committee member, president of the European Olympic Committees and vice-president of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
A statement from the OCI this evening said: “In light of this morning’s developments and his ill health, Mr Hickey has taken the decision to step aside temporarily as President of the OCI and all other Olympic functions (IOC member in Ireland, EOC President, ANOC Vice President) until this matter is fully resolved.”
It said Mr Hickey would “continue to cooperate and assist” with all ongoing inquiries.
Tonight the OCI announced that William O’Brien has assumed the Presidents role in the wake of the arrest.
At a news conference this afternoon, Rio police said they went to Mr Hickey’s hotel in the Barra district of the city this morning, but Mr Hickey was not in his room.
They were told by his wife that he had left for Ireland, but police discovered Mr Hickey in another room at the hotel.
It is understood that Rio’s Civil Police Fraud Unit were involved in the arrest of the 71-year-old, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee.
The arrest of Mr Hickey took place at about 10am Irish time, 6am local.
At the time of his arrest, Mr Hickey complained of feeling unwell and cited an existing heart condition.
He was examined by a doctor and as a precaution was taken to a hospital in Barra.
Mr Hickey’s passport, Olympic credentials and air ticket were presented to the media at the news conference.
Civil police in Rio said warrants have now been issued for the arrest of three directors of Pro 10; Michael Glynn, Ken Murray and Eamonn Collins.
Police are also investigating the participation of the Irish Olympic council with THG Sports.
Evidence of e-mails and messages on Mr Hickey’s phone are being investigated, according to police.
They say they have found evidence of communication between Mr Hickey and Marcus Evans on Mr Hickey’s phone; THG Group is owned by the Marcus Evans Group.
Two people were arrested earlier this month in relation to allegations that Olympic tickets, earmarked for the OCI, were sold on the black market in Rio de Janeiro.
THG Sports director – Irishman Kevin Mallon – and an interpreter Barbara Carnieri were arrested on charges of the fraudulent marketing of tickets.
Mr Mallon was detained on suspicion of illegally reselling tickets at inflated prices and faces charges of false marketing. Ms Carnieri was detained on suspicion of false marketing.