Saturday 3 December 2016

Firm at centre of Rio ticket scandal channelled €36m through Dublin

Brazil firm sues after it claims it was sold €85,000 of corporate seats by THG prior to Rio, says Simon Rowe

Simon Rowe

Published 21/08/2016 | 02:30

THG is being sued by a Brazilian company for allegedly selling unauthorised VIP corporate hospitality packages valued at €85,000. Photo: Getty
THG is being sued by a Brazilian company for allegedly selling unauthorised VIP corporate hospitality packages valued at €85,000. Photo: Getty

The firm at the centre of a ticketing scandal in Rio channelled more than €35m through its IFSC registered office in 2014, according to company accounts filed in February this year.

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Marcus Evans Group Services Ltd - the parent of THG - is one of the world's biggest sports ticketing and hospitality firms. Flush with success after the Sochi winter games, the Olympics and the World Cup in Brazil, a total of €35.6m cash was channelled through the firm's Dublin-based operation by way of inter-group "treasury funding" transactions.

THG had been the OCI's "authorised ticket reseller", or ATR, for the London 2012 Olympics and the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. The firm ran into controversy during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when its then chief executive, James Sinton, was detained by police investigating a so-called "ticket mafia".

THG's Dublin-based finance director is Drimnagh man Kevin Mallon. And all of Evans' IFSC firms are tax resident in Ireland, although a number of affiliated companies are based offshore in Bermuda.

Dublin-registered Marcus Evans Group Services Limited is controlled by Marcus Evans (Investments) Ltd, a company located in Bermuda.

THG is being sued by a Brazilian company for allegedly selling unauthorised VIP corporate hospitality packages valued at €85,000.

Earlier this year THG Sports was hit with a lawsuit over the sale of 200 corporate package at the 2016 Olympics to Cosan, one of the largest industrial firms in Brazil.

The revelation, which comes just days after international arrest warrants were issued for four THG executives, adds to the growing scandal engulfing the company.

THG's Dublin-based finance director, Irishman Kevin Mallon, is already facing charges of illegally selling tickets in Rio.

Rio-based conglomerate Cosan is understood to have acquired 200 VIP hospitality packages from agents they believed were acting on behalf of THG. But when executives of Cosan Lubrificantes - a business arm of the publicly listed Cosan Group - contacted the organising committee of Rio 2016 they were informed that THG was not authorised to sell tickets.

Cosan subsequently filed a lawsuit in Brazil and is demanding "indemnification for moral damages", in addition to return of R$352.174 (€85,000) that they allege has already been paid for the premium-priced hospitality packages.

A media spokesman for THG confirmed a lawsuit has been filed by Cosan. "A court case was issued, however we cannot comment on ongoing legal proceedings," he said.

A spokesman for Cosan said: "Cosan isn't going to speak about the lawsuit until the trial."

THG says it refutes any suggestions of impropriety or breach of any laws or Rio Games' local organising committee (ROCOG) regulations.

Sunday Indo Business

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