Tuesday 6 December 2016

Who gave Rio 'tout' the tickets?

■ TDs demand Ross inquiry into Olympic scandal

Niall O'Connor and Matt Sandy

Published 10/08/2016 | 02:30

Fraudulent tickets seized by Brazilian authorities. AFP/Getty Images
Fraudulent tickets seized by Brazilian authorities. AFP/Getty Images

An independent government inquiry into Ireland's Olympic ticket scandal is being demanded by Opposition party TDs.

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Following the latest embarrassment to mar the Irish participation in Rio, Sports Minister Shane Ross has been criticised for his "failure" to set up a probe.

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) says it is investigating how its tickets ended up in the hands of alleged touts. The company at the centre of the affair formerly served as the OCI's ticket agents.

Kevin Mallon, a director of THG Sport Tours Ltd from Drimnagh, Dublin, was arrested along with a translator by Brazilian police for allegedly selling tickets a "very high prices".

THG Group, where Mallon works as a finance director, said it "entirely refutes any suggestion that they or he have acted in anyway unlawfully". The OCI said it was no longer linked to THG.

If the tickets originated from a national Olympic committee, then Rio 2016 could also levy a fine of up to 100 times their face value.

Both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin called on Mr Ross to initiate an independent investigation.

Mr Ross has yet to comment on the touting - or the doping scandal, which has resulted in boxer Michael O'Reilly becoming the first Irish athlete to be banned from the Olympics.

Irish Independent

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