Monday 26 September 2016

Brazil judges issue warrant for passport of FAI chief John Delaney in Olympics ticket tout probe

Three other OCI execs told not to leave Brazil after new police raid

Cathal McMahon, Kevin Doyle and Alan O'Keeffe

Published 22/08/2016 | 02:30

John Delaney pictured with his partner Emma English and former OCI chief Pat Hickey
John Delaney pictured with his partner Emma English and former OCI chief Pat Hickey
FAI chief John Delaney. Photo: Sportsfile

FAI chief executive John Delaney has become embroiled in the Olympic ticket tout scandal after a judge issued a warrant for his passport.

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He is one of six people who were ordered to submit their passports to authorities in Brazil as part of an investigation into the illegal sale of tickets at the Rio Olympics.

A search warrant was granted against Mr Delaney and five others by Judge Leticia D'Aiuto de Moraes Ferreira Michelli.

The magistrate considered their foreign nationalities and the possibility that after the end of the games yesterday they may leave the country.

According to court documents, the material will be used to establish the facts surrounding alleged ticket touting.

Mr Delaney is understood not to have travelled to Brazil for the Olympics. But he has not been in public view since the arrest of former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey - despite being the vice-president of the organisation.

Earlier yesterday, three of the top executives at the OCI who are in Brazil were ordered to surrender their passports and told not to leave the country.

Police in Rio de Janeiro seized phones and laptops belonging to Chef de Mission Kevin Kilty, General Secretary Dermot Henihan and CEO Stephen Martin.

The OCI confirmed that raids took place yesterday in the Olympic village and at OCI accommodation outside the village. It said the three men whose passports were seized had not been arrested and were fully co-operating with investigating police. But later it emerged that police were also seeking the passports of three other board members.

Those three people named on court documents are: acting president Willie O'Brien; personal assistant Linda O'Reilly; and Mr Delaney. However, it is understood that these three individuals are not in Brazil.

Mr Delaney effectively became the organisation's number two after Mr Hickey announced that he was temporarily stepping down following his arrest.

Mr Hickey had previously announced John Delaney as his "favourite" to take on the role following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Scandal

Despite receiving the endorsement from Mr Hickey, Mr Delaney has not publicly commented on the alleged ticket-touting scandal. Repeated requests were made by the Irish Independent for comment from Mr Delaney through the FAI, the OCI and personally in recent days - but to no avail.

The latest set of raids follows the arrest of Mr Hickey last Wednesday at the Windsor Marapendi Hotel in Rio.

Ricardo Barboza De Souza, Head of the Civil Police Fraud Unit, confirmed that further "police action" had taken place yesterday morning.

He added: "We are not revealing any details of this at this time. There will be a press conference on Tuesday."

A spokesperson for the OCI said: "No arrests were made. The police took possession of their passports, along with their phones and laptops.

"The OCI personnel were asked to present for questioning at a local police station on Tuesday. They agreed to do so.

"The OCI had an allocation of unused official tickets in their offices which had been made available for athletes' families and friends. The police also took possession of these tickets."

Members of the OCI board were locked in a meeting in Dublin late last night.

Dermot Sherlock, formerly assistant honorary general secretary of the OCI, sharply criticised the treatment of Mr Hickey by Brazilian authorities.

The events surrounding Mr Hickey's arrest were "a total and absolute disgrace without a shadow of a doubt" he said.

The legal system was "very different" to the Irish system. "This would not have happened in Ireland," he said.

Others seen attending the meeting at Arthur Cox solicitors included Sonia O'Sullivan, Sarah Keane and Tommy Murphy.

Mr Sherlock added: "This meeting is to find out what the present situation is as far as the OCI is concerned.

"This is the first meeting where we've had a chance to get even most of the executive present. I would like to know what has happened in fact. I know some things were said, which don't seem to hold water.

"I would like to hear from people who have been there."

Sports Ministers Shane Ross and Patrick O'Donovan are expected to meet the Attorney General today before approaching a retired judge to head up a non-statutory investigation.

Irish Independent

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