Olympic tickets seized in Brazil 'sold to legitimate customers'
An Irishman arrested in Brazil over the alleged illegal sale of tickets for the Rio games was acting as a collection contact for an official sales agent, it has been claimed.
The PRO10 agency, which was contracted as the official authorised ticket reseller (ATR) for the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), said Kevin Mallon was holding tickets for its clients.
Mr Mallon, a director of THG Sports which specialises in corporate and sports hospitality around the world, was detained in Rio a week ago as police seized about 1,000 tickets for the Olympics.
Directors of PRO10 Sports Management said they want to make clear that they have always acted properly and fully in line with guidelines for ATRs.
They said the organisers of the Rio games were given answers to a series of questions about the affair on Wednesday, within four hours of being asked.
"We explained that the tickets Mr Kevin Mallon, an employee of THG group, had in his possession were held on our behalf to be made available simply for collection by Irish and other European customers of PRO10 in Rio," the PRO10 directors said.
"These had been made available for sale through the authorised ticket reseller process and were sold to legitimate customers of PRO10 at face value plus the allowed ATR reseller fee."
PRO10, based in Lucan, Dublin and which also has a business acting as agents for footballers, said it is normal for ATRs to have tickets for collection and sale during the games.
"Many ATR's would have several thousand rather than hundreds of tickets in their possession at an ATR house," it said.
PRO10 said the inquiry has caused it significant commercial loss and left Irish and European customers unable to buy tickets during the games through the authorised process.
It said it was discussing the issue with lawyers.
THG, part of the group of companies owned by Ipswich Town Football Club owner Marcus Evans, denies any unlawful activity and insists it will vigorously defend its employee.
It called for Mr Mallon's release and asked for judges in Brazil to review the inquiry.
Amid deepening pressure in Dublin over why Irish allocated tickets are at the centre of controversy there have been calls for the OCI president Pat Hickey to be hauled before a parliamentary spending watchdog.
The OCI said it was treating the controversy with the utmost seriousness.
Mr Hickey is to be grilled by Sports Minister Shane Ross when he arrives in Rio on Sunday.
The OCI said it has no knowledge of Mr Mallon and launched an investigation with PRO10.