Sunday 25 September 2016

The emails that tell a different story about the Rio tickets

Published 10/09/2016 | 02:30

In a series of emails released by police this week, communications involving OCI president Pat Hickey, THG Sports owner Marcus Evans, Cartan director Greg Harney and senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials were laid bare.
In a series of emails released by police this week, communications involving OCI president Pat Hickey, THG Sports owner Marcus Evans, Cartan director Greg Harney and senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials were laid bare.

In a series of emails released by police this week, communications involving OCI president Pat Hickey, THG Sports owner Marcus Evans, Cartan director Greg Harney and senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials were laid bare.

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22 July 2016

An email from Cartan director Greg Harney to Pat Hickey: "We figured out a partnership with Marcus Evans and his team for Rio as they will be using our venue for hospitality during the Games. Have been working in particular with Marcus' guy out of Dublin - Kevin Mallon.

"All the best and see you in Rio!"

The same day, Hickey replied: "Thanks for the info Greg. See you in Rio. Best, Pat."

Brazilian detectives say this email demonstrates that Pat Hickey knew of the Cartan connection and Kevin Mallon's name even before Mr Mallon was arrested.

One of the emails about tickets shown by police
One of the emails about tickets shown by police

6 August 2016

The day after the arrest of THG director Kevin James Mallon in Brazil, an employee of Marcus Evans, who gives his name only as Vernon, emails Cartan director Greg Harney. The email confirms and lists 177 tickets for Rio 2016 that THG Sport bought from Cartan for $53,000.

"Bearing in mind the issues surrounding the opening ceremony we would be grateful if you would confirm the following regards our order," he wrote. It seeks confirmation that although the tickets would not be valid if they were "resold nor provided to any of our clients who are using hospitality facilities", the tickets could be "gifts to clients of our various group companies with no payment made to us not linked to any other product or service".

Separate documents presented by police appeared to show THG Sports was passed dozens of tickets by Cartan that originated from the Olympic allocations of other nations. They included 90 tickets for the men's football final. Cartan had the right to resell Rio 2016 tickets for 36 different countries and territories but police say they did not have to right to sell them to be resold.

Kevin Mallon
Kevin Mallon

The email from Evans' employee ended: "We would be grateful for your urgent confirmation that the tickets will obtain access for our employees and non-hospitality customers as we will be sending these out shortly and wouldn't want any embarrassment on the day for these valued employees and customers."

7 August 2016

Cartan director Greg Harney emails Hickey: "As you may have heard from Marcus [Evans] already, one of his guys got busted and thrown into jail on Friday at one of our hospitality venues. An ugly scene on opening night to say the least. Anyway we have been speaking with Marcus daily/hourly on trying to assist them but have suggested he make contact with you as well as obviously this was a targeted situation. Also, I have told Marcus that we can be part of the solution for him but not his defense as he requested."

7 August 2016

Marcus Evans
Marcus Evans

Harney emails Hickey again, this time to forward links to Brazilian articles relating to the police investigation into ticket touting in Brazil.

He wrote: "The more you can discourage Marcus [Evans] from continuing to operate the better!"

9 August 2016

In an email from PR adviser Jon Tibbs to Pat Hickey, the former wrote: "I seriously think you should send a note to the IOC asap stating that 'due to the alleged ticketing offences involving THG in Rio 2016, I would like to provisionally suspend their ATR status for PyeongChang 2018. This would be reviewed once the OCI and the police investigations have concluded.

"Mark it strictly private and confidential.

"Then we have a paper trail with the IOC to show we have already taken action. We can use this with the media if / when the PyC relationship becomes public which I fear will be at any time."

10 August 2016

Michael Glynn, a director of PRO10 Sports Management, emailed Rio 2016 officials to accuse them of "delinquency" for taking five days to seek the company's comments on the seizure of Olympic tickets from THG Sports director Kevin Mallon on August 5. Citing "major commercial loss", he added: "PRO10 reserves all of our rights to address such loss through damages which are significant at this moment." Glynn later copied the email to Hickey on 12 August.

Profile: Greg Harney

Greg Harney - a director of US-based tour company Cartan - has emerged as a new figure in the Rio ticketing scandal.

It has emerged that Mr Harney had been communicating with embattled Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) chief Pat Hickey in emails released by Brazilian police.

Mr Harney is an Olympic veteran, with Rio being his 18th Olympics as an international consultant, organiser or fan.

He graduated from the Arizona State University with a physical education degree and went on to work with an athletics organisation as sports information director.

Mr Harney worked as the manager of venue press operations for the Los Angeles 1984 Games.

He also spent 20 years working for the US Olympic Committee (USOC) and was appointed as the managing director of international affairs. He left in 2005.

He has been working with Cartan as a consultant since 2006. The California company coordinates hotels, events and transport for people attending Olympics.

In a recent interview with a US media company, Harney said that he originally hoped to compete in the Olympics as an athlete - but he decided to become a sports professional.

"My profession is also my hobby, and not a lot of people get to have that opportunity," he said.

The OCI last night told the Irish Independent it has "no commercial relationship" with Cartan.

A spokesperson for Cartan last night denied any wrongdoing, but did not state if the company has a relationship with Pat Hickey for the OCI.

Profile: Martin Burke

Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) sports director Martin Burke, whom Brazilian police named as a new suspect in their ticket-touting investigation, has been involved with the organisation for more than 14 years.

Mr Burke, who lives in Kildare, was named by police as a suspect after they seized a hard drive from the OCI's office in Rio. The police say the hard drive contained a file named 'THG additional tickets'.

However, an OCI spokeswoman told the Irish Independent that neither the body nor Mr Burke has been contacted by the Rio authorities.

A sporting enthusiast, Burke joined the OCI just before the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 and has since scaled the ranks of the Olympic organisation.

The OCI appointed Mr Burke (inset) as its full-time technical director in May 2003.

Burke has held positions in key strategic roles over the years and has been involved in four Olympic Games during his career.

He has been the chef de mission for the last two editions of the European Youth Olympic Festival. He has also attended five European Youth Olympics since joining the OCI.

A keen canoeist, Mr Burke has a strong background in canoe flat-water racing. It is understood he is involved with a canoeing club in Kildare. The sports director has also competed in cycle road racing.

In 2010, he also served as Chef de Mission for the first World Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore.

Mr Burke has been praised as an "instrumental part" of the Team Ireland management team in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

OCI chief Pat Hickey also praised Mr Burke's "huge input" during a post-Beijing briefing with an Oireachtas Committee in 2009.

Irish Independent

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