Sunday 23 October 2016

THG says it had 'commercial' deal with official ticket reseller

Ryan Nugent

Published 17/08/2016 | 02:30

The seized tickets for the Rio Olympics. Photo: Getty
The seized tickets for the Rio Olympics. Photo: Getty

The hospitality group at the centre of an alleged ticket touting scam has admitted it had a "commercial agreement" with the Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) for the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI).

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However, the THG group could not provide details of the number of tickets it purchased from Ireland's ATR, PRO10.

Both the Marcus Evans/THG Group and PRO10 have previously said THG director Kevin Mallon - who is currently detained in Rio - was acting as a "collection point" for customers buying tickets from PRO10.

Both companies have said Mr Mallon was distributing the tickets on behalf of PRO10 voluntarily - but a spokesman for THG has admitted it "procured" other tickets from the ATR.

When asked by the Irish Independent why Mr Mallon was conducting these operations free-of-charge, a THG spokesman said he had agreed to do it as a favour, and had also been carrying tickets from PRO10 that he had legally procured.

"Because they had procured tickets from them as they had to because PRO10 was the authorised seller, so there was a commercial arrangement between them," the spokesman said.

"Broadly, they had a commercial arrangement because that's what hospitality people do when they go to procure tickets from the ATR," he added.

However, THG could not provide figures for the number of tickets it bought from PRO10.

"I'm not giving details because I don't know the numbers," the spokesman said.

Read more: Ticket row deepens as Pat Hickey refuses to answer Shane Ross's questions in Rio

THG also could not comment on a phone number linked with PRO10 allegedly redirecting calls to the Marcus Evans Group when reaching voicemail.

After being contacted by the Irish Independent on the issue, PRO10 did not respond at the time of going to print.

It is understood the OCI was unaware of this phone situation between the agencies but is now including it in its line of inquiry.

THG say its main focus is now to get Mr Mallon released from custody.

"Our real big focus right now is to try and get this poor guy released. He hasn't actually formally been charged," the spokesman said.

"To keep him in jail all this time, I don't know what other country you can get away with this.

"We are trying very hard to get that rescinded," the spokesman added.

THG has previously said in a statement that there was an agenda at play by local authorities to "impede legitimate activities" and support the locally approved hospitality provider.

Irish Independent

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