Monday 5 December 2016

Rio tout had tickets allocated to OCI

Matt Sandy

Published 09/08/2016 | 02:30

The tickets seized by the police in Rio. The ticket states it's for use by Irish residents
The tickets seized by the police in Rio. The ticket states it's for use by Irish residents

The Olympic Council of Ireland has found itself at the centre of a major ticket-tout scandal after two individuals were arrested illegally selling tickets earmarked for the organisation.

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The OCI is now investigating why tickets allocated to the organisation were found in the possession of the individuals arrested by Rio de Janeiro police.

Irishman Kevin James Mallon, one of the heads at hospitality provider THG Sports, was arrested with fake tickets for the Rio Games, police said yesterday.

Mallon is accused of conspiracy and helping sell tickets illegally. Another employee of the firm, Barbara Carnieri, was also arrested.

The then-CEO of the same company, James Sinton, was arrested in 2014 as part of the investigation into the alleged World Cup ticket scam, police said.

Stephen Hickey, the son of OCI president Pat Hickey, has worked as a manager for THG Sports in the past.

THG Sports was Ireland's authorised ticket reseller for London 2012.

However this year, Pro 10 is acting as the authorised ticket seller (ATR) for the OCI.

Investigative police in Brazil arrested a second employee who was working as an interpreter during the games in a Friday raid.

Stephen Hickey, the son of OCI president Pat Hickey, has worked as a manager for TGH Sports in the past.

THG Sports was Ireland's authorised ticket reseller for London 2012.

However this year, Pro 10 is acting as the authorised ticket seller (ATR) for the OCI.

Investigative police in Brazil arrested a second employee who was working as an interpreter during the games in a Friday raid.

The OCI name was visible on tickets displayed by police, but the organisation said it had "no knowledge" of the two individuals arrested.

"The OCI has launched an immediate investigation with our ATR [authorised ticket reseller], Pro10, into how the individuals were allegedly in possession of OCI allocated tickets," the organisation said in a statement yesterday.

"The OCI strictly adheres to the IOC regulations around ticket allocation, sale and re-sale. We are treating this matter with the utmost seriousness."

Mallon and Carnieri were allegedly found with a large number of tickets, including hospitality packages, at a serviced apartment in Barra da Tijuca, near Rio's Olympic Park, on Friday.

Mallon has been accused of conspiracy, illicit marketing and facilitating the touting of tickets.

Carnieri, an interpreter, is accused of illicit marketing.

Police

Police said in total they have seized more than 1,000 "very high value" tickets.

Mallon was detained by a court on Friday pending the police investigation.

A spokesman for the organisers of the Games said Brazil had learned from the experience of hosting the World Cup in 2014.

"We created a group with the police around two years ago exactly to fight against this kind of sale," said Donovan Ferreti, who is in charge of ticketing for Rio 2016.

"And because of that we had this great action today."

The tickets are believed to have included ones for last Friday's opening ceremony, which featured supermodel Gisele Bündchen. The most expensive ticket cost £1,100 (€1,292).

On Friday, a special Olympic court convened in Rio de Janeiro ordered Mallon to be imprisoned while Civil Police detectives investigated the incident.

Judge Rodrigo Faria de Souza also ordered the seizure of Mallon's tickets, his passport, laptop, mobile phone and USB drives.

He is receiving consular assistance from Irish authorities in Brazil.

Irish Independent

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