Olympics: Rio police seize passports in raid on Irish Olympics office

 Patrick Hickey looks on during a judo event match during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games prior to his arrest.
Patrick Hickey looks on during a judo event match during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games prior to his arrest. PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Brazilian police on Sunday seized passports, phones and computers during a raid on the Irish Olympic office at the Rio Games as they stepped up an inquiry into black market tickets. 

Irish International Olympic Committee member Patrick Hickey has already been detained in the inquiry, and is being held in Rio's notorious Bangu prison.

An Olympic Council of Ireland statement said Rio police took "passports along with their phones and laptops" from Irish officials at the OCI office in the athletes Village.

Also confiscated were unused Olympic tickets that were meant to be for "athletes' families and friends".

Irish media said three officials had their passports seized. But the OCI did not comment.

"The OCI personnel were asked to present for questioning at a local police station on Tuesday," the statement said. The officials "agreed", it added.

Rio police did not confirm their role in Sunday's raid but said they were "conducting investigations since the morning, which will continue until Tuesday".

Earlier, IOC president Thomas Bach said that Hickey, currently held in the Bangu maximum security prison, will appear before a Brazilian judge on Tuesday.

The International Olympic Committee leader gave no other details but the 71-year-old Hickey could be formally charged or the judge could order him released on bail.

"Mr Hickey will have his first hearing by a judge next Tuesday," Bach said Sunday on the sidelines of an IOC executive meeting in Rio at the end of the Olympic Games.

Hickey, an IOC member, head of the Olympic Council of Ireland and the European Olympic Committees, was detained Wednesday and is accused of involvement in a ticket scam, ambush marketing and conspiracy over the sale of Rio Olympics tickets at inflated prices.

The ticket case has come as an embarrassment for the IOC. Bach again stressed the "presumption of innocence" in Hickey's case. He has not criticised or supported the Irish official.

Hickey "temporarily" stood down from his official positions after the arrest so the IOC ethics commission has not yet launched an official investigation.

The scandal has been mounting since the arrest on Aug 5 of Kevin Mallon, the Irish head of the THG hospitality company.

Police said they seized hundreds of tickets from Mallon some of which had the Olympic Council of Ireland name on them.

Tickets, including for the Rio opening ceremony, with a face value of about US$1,400 ($1885) were offered for sale at US$8,000.

Hickey denied any involvement with THG before his arrest.