Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Pat Hickey 'offered all Irish tickets to Rio ceremonies to tout firm'

Police have released emails which allegedly show that Irish Olympic official Pat Hickey contacted the head of the firm at the centre of the Rio touting scandal offering him all the Irish tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games.

It has also emerged that former Olympic gold-medallist from Northern Ireland Stephen Martin will tomorrow be questioned by Brazilian police as part of a probe into the ticket scandal.

Mr Martin was one of three Irish officials to have their passports, phones and laptops seized by police in Rio.

One of the three - Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) member Dermot Henihan - has been told he is free to return home after meeting with officers, while his colleagues have rescheduled their meeting for tomorrow.

There is no suggestion any of the three are guilty of any wrongdoing.

OCI general secretary Mr Henihan met with officers in 'Police City' and a short time later senior officers confirmed that he had no role in an alleged international ticket touting ring.

Irish chef de mission Kevin Kilty and chief executive Mr Martin were also due to meet with police, but the pair have rescheduled their meeting for tomorrow.

Speaking at a police conference, Ricardo Barboza de Sousa said Mr Henihan's role was "only bureaucratic".

Commissioner Barboza said: "Today Stephen Martin and Kevin Kilty asked to reschedule to Thursday to allow them to meet with lawyers. Henihan said he signed the document for bureaucratic reasons. His involvement has been excluded.

"For us there is no link in terms of the content of material we have. His role was bureaucratic only. There was no decision power behind this."

It emerged yesterday that in an email dated August 3, Mr Hickey told Marcus Evans, the owner of THG Sports Tours Ltd, that he could use all of the National Olympic Committee tickets allocated. Pro10 was the authorised ticket reseller (ATR) for the OCI.

In the email Mr Hickey told Mr Evans, the owner of Ipswich Town FC, that he had no use for the tickets and he could "use them all".

"We have tickets left that Pro 10 don't want so before we get rid of them have you any use for them," Mr Hickey asked Mr Evans.

The OCI previously said on August 12 that all tickets were only given to Pro10, the ATR - and not THG.

THG was formerly the official reseller for the OCI for the London Olympics - but was not approved by the body for the Rio 2016 Games.

Police allege that Irish company Pro10 was created to act as a bridge between OCI and THG after this.

Police officer Aloysio Falcao also displayed an email, taken from Mr Hickey's computer, from 2010 which shows contact between the pair dated back to then. Police confirmed that they are investigating a major money laundering operation to establish the financial link between those involved in the alleged crime.

Mr Falcao explained: "For the investigation it is very important for police to look at the money laundering aspect of the investigation.

"We will be forwarding all these documents to show that there is a huge mark-up between the face value and the price they were being sold for."

Commissioner Barboza said the two other executives remain suspects until their meeting tomorrow.

Police claimed that 228 tickets were found in a safe in Mr Kilty's room.

Commissioner Barboza said: "Kevin Kilty said these tickets were destined for athletes but we know that every athlete is entitled to two tickets for their sport. We will talk to the Rio organisers to confirm this."

Police secured a warrant to seize the passports of six OCI executives following interviews with Mr Hickey in the last week.

Police sources have confirmed that they sought to interview Mr Henihan, Mr Kilty and Mr Martin to establish what they know about an alleged ticket touting ring. Police are seeking to establish if the decision to grant the ticketing licence for Rio 2016 first to THG and secondly to Pro10 was mutual or made independently by Mr Hickey.

According to court records, Mr Hickey, who temporarily stepped down as OCI president after his arrest last week, has claimed it was a collective decision.

"Pat Hickey says he wasn't alone when making a decision. He says he was in a group with these six people."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph