Friday 20 October 2017

Former OCI boss Pat Hickey intends to return to Olympic duties 'in due course'

Photo: Getty/AFP
Photo: Getty/AFP
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

FORMER OCI boss Pat Hickey intends to return to international Olympic duties “in due course”.

The Dubliner, who is facing trial in Brazil on charges of ticket touting, has said a judge-led inquiry here found no evidence of criminal activity, adding that his good name has been “cleared”.

However, he says the report by Judge Carroll Moran contains “significant inaccuracies” which he will address once legal proceedings in Brazil have concluded. 

The 226-page report, details of which were revealed by Independent.ie over the weekend, is heavily critical of Mr Hickey’s management of the Olympic Council of Ireland.

Among its key findings are:

  • That a company set up to sell Irish tickets at the Rio Olympics was “unfit for purpose”.
  • That the OCI helped facilitate a company that had been banned from operating in Rio.
  • That the OCI prioritise commercial relationships over athletes and their families.
  • That a €60,000 a year honorarium paid to Pat Hickey was questionable given the size and spirit of the OCI.
  • And that accountancy practices in the OCI were not always robust.

Mr Justice Moran repeatedly criticises the lack of co-operation from key players including Mr Hickey, the International Olympic Committee and Rio Organising Committee.

Pat Hickey Picture: Justin Farrelly
Pat Hickey Picture: Justin Farrelly

The Inquiry was run on a non-statutory basis which meant the judge was not in a position to compel witnesses or take statements under oath.

The judge says this was a “major impediment” to his work and as a result he was unable to answer many of the questions posed in the wake of the ticketing scandal.

He could ascertain the where many of the tickets allocated to the OCI for the Games ended up which “substantially undermined the ability of the Inquiry to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the facts”.

The Inquiry cost around €300,000 but Transport Minister Shane Ross said today that the money was well spent.

“It is regrettable that the parties concerned chose not to assist Judge Moran in his inquiries.

“I believe that if they had co-operated this report would be more complete,” Mr Ross said.

“I understand that those parties have the right not to incriminate themselves. Judge Moran recognises in his Report that this was a legitimate position for them to take.

“I do not believe that it has fundamentally undermined the value and benefit of the insights that we now have as a result of Judge Moran’s careful analysis.”

The judge said he does not believe the Government should establish a full commission of investigation.

In his statement Mr Hickey said: “At all times I acted in the best interests of the Olympic Council of Ireland with a view to maximising revenue for the Olympic Council of Ireland which in turn was channelled into the management of current and future Olympic athletes in Ireland.

“Sponsorship is the life blood of sport and more particularly successful Olympic participation.

“At the time I announced my retirement in January 2016 and subsequent thereto I left a credit amount in the bank account of the Olympic Council of Ireland to the order of €2.5 million.

“I await the outcome of legal procedures in Brazil and regrettably I and my family are frustrated by the delays in the process which are outside my control. However, my legal team and I remain totally confident that I will be cleared of all charges in Brazil.”

The 72-year-old concluded: “I look forward in due course to resuming my international Olympic duties.”

Timeline: An Olympic scandal involving $1m deals, private jets, chaotic management and arrest beamed around the world

2009, July 9: Former OCI president Pat Hickey receives an email from THG boss and Ipswich Town Football Club owner Marcus Evans proposing to become the ticket agent for each Olympic Games up to 2020.

2010

March 5: THG lodges $1m into the OCI's bank account as part of its bid to become the ticket agent for London 2012 and Sochi 2014.

June 22: FAI boss John Delaney proposes that the OCI begins paying Mr Hickey an honorarium of €60,000 a year.

The judge said it was questionable whether the allowance, paid to the president between 2010 and 2016, was within the spirit of the organisation as a small voluntary operation.

2011

December 16: Mr Hickey reports to the OCI that THG has offered $600,000 to be the ticket agent for the Rio Games in 2016.

2013

February 5: OCI's Executive Committee decides to start excluding its CEO from meetings.

2015

May 5: Rio Organising Committee rejects the OCI's application to appoint THG as its ticket agent. It has suspicions the company is linked to ticket touting and unauthorised hospitality events.

May 6: Mr Evans sends Mr Hickey an email with the subject line "My Thoughts" in which he suggests an alternative to THG.

May 20: A business called Pro10 is registered.

The judge concludes Pro10 "was not a genuine Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) but its involvement disguised the continuing role of THG and Marcus Evans as the real or de facto ATR".

June 22: Contract signed to allow Pro10 be the OCI's ticket agent for a fee of $100,000. The judge believes that the OCI is still owed $50,000 from this element of the deal by Pro10.

2016

April 20: Mr Hickey flies to Geneva on Mr Evans's private jet.

August 5: Just hours before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio, Kevin Mallon of THG is arrested by police.

Officers seized a number of tickets from a hotel room but the judge was unable to state how many or what their intended destination might have been.

August 10: Email from Mr Evans to Mr Hickey asking for his thoughts on a reply from Pro10 to queries from the Rio Organising Committee. This was drafted by THG.

August 15: A Brazilian judge issues warrants for the arrest of four THG executives, including Mr Evans.

August 17: Mr Hickey is arrested during a 6am raid on his hotel. Images of him in a dressing gown are beamed around the world.

August 21: Closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.

September 6: Mr Hickey is charged with ticket touting, forming a criminal association/cartel and illicit marketing by Brazilian authorities. He could face up to seven years in jail but has repeatedly refuted the charges.

September 19: The Moran Inquiry is established by Transport Minister Shane Ross with a deadline for its report set at December 12.

2017

August 14: Moran Report due to be published by the minister.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News