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Irish Olympic chief Pat Hickey placed under house arrest in Rio

Former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey

OLYMPIC Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey has been placed under house arrest while Brazilian police investigate an alleged ticket-touting operation.

A judge in Rio de Janiero recommended on Monday that Mr Hickey be freed from prison and placed under house arrest.

The 71-year-old is being held in a maximum security Rio jail after he was arrested on August 18.

He has been formally accused under Brazilian law of ticket-touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing.

Mr Hickey has always denied any wrongdoing.

Judge Fernando Antonio de Almeida cited Mr Hickey's "critical health" before recommending that his imprisonment be converted into "domicile imprisonment".

The judge said Mr Hickey's imprisonment to date was based on "generic presumptions" and that his potential release from jail would not "put at risk the public order, or the application of penal law".

He also said precautionary imprisonment can only be used when the maximum time servable for an offence exceeds four years.

Mr Hickey, who has a heart condition, has temporarily stood aside as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) during the investigation.

The judge's recommendation comes after Irishman Kevin Mallon, director of hospitality firm THG Sports, was freed on bail on Sunday following his arrest earlier this month in the same ticket-touting investigation.

He was arrested in possession of hundreds of tickets earmarked for the OCI, including some for the opening and closing ceremonies.

The authorised ticket reseller is Dublin-based PRO10 Sports Management. THG said it had legitimate customers for its tickets and Mr Mallon was acting as a collection agent for them in Rio, meeting clients.

THG and PRO10 have denied any wrongdoing over ticket sales.

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