Tuesday 27 September 2016

The web of intrigue behind Olympics touting allegations

Ryan Nugent and Kevin Doyle

Published 16/08/2016 | 02:30

Shane Ross has been accused of being slow to react to the ticket controversy Photo: Tom Burke
Shane Ross has been accused of being slow to react to the ticket controversy Photo: Tom Burke

Who are the major players in this ticketing scandal?

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- The Olympic Council of Ireland face questions over how tickets assigned to them ended up being seized by Brazilian police.

- Sports Minister Shane Ross is in the firing line after being slow to react to the controversy, and now failing to get any answers from OCI President Pat Hickey.

- Dubliner Kevin Mallon, who is a director of ticketing firm THG, is in prison on suspicion of being a ticket tout.

- Three other directors of THG, including Ipswich Town owner and billionaire Marcus Evans, are being sought by Brazilian police and Interpol as part of the investigation.

- PRO10 are the official ticket resellers for the OCI and provided the 781 tickets earmarked for the OCI to Kevin Mallon.

Why have there been no complaints made from customers about their tickets being seized?

- Despite 781 tickets being seized, nobody has publicly complained about the loss of tickets. PRO10 says that 60pc of the tickets were unsold and they were attempting to sell them through their ticket portal, with the other 40pc sold to corporate customers in Ireland and the EU.

Was Kevin Mallon selling tickets on behalf of PRO10 or THG in Rio?

- Both Mr Mallon's company, the THG Group, and the authorised ticket resellers, PRO10, have said that Mr Mallon was not selling tickets in Rio. The two companies say that Mr Mallon was acting as a "collection point" voluntarily for PRO10. However, the detective leading the investigation, Ricardo Barboza de Souza, has said that all the negotiations went directly through THG rather than PRO10.

What investigations are taking place?

- The main probe is being led by Brazilian police with the help of Interpol but the OCI has set up its own probe.

- Sports Minister Shane Ross wanted an independent person added to the OCI's inquiry team - but Pat Hickey has refused this request. As a result, Mr Ross threatened to set up his own inquiry and is to seek advice from the Attorney General.

Why are relations between the OCI and the minister so fraught?

- Mr Ross's public statements that he would get answers to many of the key questions while in Rio appears to have irked the OCI. The Council said it "will not risk prejudicing the ongoing judicial process in Brazil by making any further comment".

- "An Irish citizen has been charged by Brazilian authorities and he is fundamentally entitled to due process and to the presumption of innocence."

- The OCI insisted it is not investigating itself but rather "the chain of events from the appointment of Pro10 to the arrest of Mr Mallon".

So what happens next?

- Mr Ross will wait for the opinion of the AG before deciding his next move. The OCI says it "will be happy to make public the findings of its own investigation at the appropriate time, but not before the Brazilian legal case has been resolved".

Irish Independent

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