The Olympic Council of Ireland has insisted that “contrary to reports” its president, Pat Hickey, complied fully with the terms of the arrest warrant when he was detained by Brazilian police yesterday morning.
It said Mr Hickey was taken ill as the warrant was served and taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
Earlier Brazilian police told the media that when they went to OCI president’s room yesterday morning they found only his wife, who was sleeping. They said Mr Hickey’s wife “lied, saying that he had already gone home to Ireland”.
“But we saw his shoes, socks and his open suitcase was still in the room. We then found him in another room registered to his son.”
In a statement issued last night, OCI said that in light of yesterday morning’s developments and Mr Hickey’s ill health and until the matter was resolved, he had taken the decision to step aside “temporarily” as president of the OCI and all other Olympic functions including his role as International Olympic Committee member in Ireland, president of the European Olympic Committees and vice president of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
“Mr Hickey will of course continue to co-operate and assist with all ongoing enquiries,” the OCI statement added.
The OCI said last night that Vice President William O’Brien will assume the duties of President in Mr Hickey’s absence.
Mark Adams, director of communications with the International Olympic Committee, fielded dozens of questions from the international media about the arrest at a press conference yesterday afternoon.
He re-iterated that Mr Hickey was innocent until proven guilty. He also said the IOC had every faith in the Brazilian justice system.
“Needless to say, we’ll be fully co-operating with any police investigation, should there be one,” he said.
Mr Adams said the IOC had no warning that the arrest was to be made and the first he knew of it was in his room at 7am Brazil time yesterday morning.
He told RTÉ radio: “ I am sure Pat, if he had been asked by police, would have quite happily gone along and talked to them without being raided at 6.30am.”
Mr Adams referred to the charges Mr Hickey is facing and said: “Let’s wait and see if there is any evidence at all and then we will deal with it as it comes.”
Asked whether the IOC was providing legal counsel to Mr Hickey as an IOC member, Mr Adams said the situation resulted from allegations around the Olympic Committee of Ireland.
“I presume and I would hope they have sorted out legal counsel for him.”
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