September 11, 2016

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is quoted as saying his absence from the opening of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro has nothing to do with the charges brought by Brazilian prosecutors against another high-ranking IOC official.

Olympic Council of Ireland President Patrick Hickey is among ten people facing charges of ticket scalping, conspiracy and ambush marketing related to last month's Olympics.

Police investigators have said they wanted to speak with Bach about email exchanges he had with Hickey related to Ireland's ticket allocation.

Bach, who traveled to Zagreb, Croatia, this week, said he missed the ceremony to attend the funeral in Germany for former West Germany president Walter Scheel.

In comments translated into Croatian and published on the Croatian Olympic Committee website, Bach also said he didn't want to cancel a visit to the country for the second time in just three months. He missed the International Skating Union Congress in Dubrovnik in June to attend the funeral of Muhammad Ali.

''Choosing between the trip to Rio and the funeral of a close friend whom I had known for more than forty years, the human reasons prevailed,'' Bach was quoted as saying.

He adds that ''Hickey is innocent until proven guilty and I, as the president of the IOC, have received no official request from the Brazilian authorities.''

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