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Top Olympic official accused of scalping tickets

Irish Sports Minister Shane Ross has said the Olympic Council of Ireland will have to accept an independent inquiry into the alleged illegal sale of tickets.

Ireland's Patrick Hickey, a member of the International Olympic Committee's executive board, is accused of plotting with at least six others to illegally sell tickets for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, police said.

The OCI said Hickey, its president, was stepping aside from all his Olympic functions until the matter was fully resolved, and was being replaced by William O'Brien.

"Especially, an iPad that he had with him, and this is going to be investigated, especially the links between Mr Hickey and anyone related to ticketing".

Police officers suggested that Hickey's strategy is related to another scandal that implies THG Sports CEO James Mallon.

Photos of Hickey in a dressing gown, being apprehended by Rio's Civil Police, surfaced online a short time later.

Irish man Kevin Mallon, a director of United Kingdom sports hospitality company THG, and a translator were arrested earlier this month in Rio and about 800 tickets seized, some of which came from the OCI's allocation.

Sports Minister Shane Ross announced a non-statutory inquiry into the Olympics ticketing scandal.

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PRO10 says on its website that it is the Irish authorized ticket reseller for the Games.

Pro 10 Management also denies any wrongdoing, saying in a statement released on 12 August that it had always acted properly and fully in line with the guidelines.

Mr Mallon was arrested after police seized Olympic tickets in a Rio hotel, some of which were part of the Irish allocation and some for the opening and closing ceremonies and the football final.

"It's something which I take extremely seriously".

The two are discussing setting up an inquiry into ticket touting at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Mr Ross was pressed about reports in this morning's Irish Examiner which said the Government is considering pulling the funding from the OCI.

Speaking to reporters outside Samaritano Hospital in São Paulo on Wednesday night, Mr O'Brien said OCI officials had been granted "restricted access" during their visit.

Mr Ross said he had not received any contact from Taoiseach Enda Kenny since the controversy came to light. "Until then, the presumption of innocence prevails".

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