Wednesday 17 January 2018

Hickey may now be compelled to appear before committee

Pat Hickey. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Pat Hickey. Photo: SPORTSFILE
John Greene

John Greene

Former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey may be compelled to appear before an Oireachtas Committee to face questions about ticketing.

Justice Carroll Moran's explosive report on the distribution of tickets for the Rio Olympics was published last Monday. Hickey, who is facing criminal charges in Brazil over alleged ticket touting and who denies all charges, opted not to co-operate with the inquiry on legal advice while his trial in Rio was still pending.

Hickey vowed to clear his name and return to his duties with the International Olympic Committee. Hickey was also invited to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport last week to discuss the Rio ticketing scandal, but again declined on legal advice.

However, since publication of the report, it has emerged that contracts are in place between the OCI and the company at the centre of the controversy, THG, covering all summer and winter Olympics up to 2026. These contracts were only discovered last month and were described by current OCI president Sarah Keane last week as "pretty watertight".

Read More: We don't want Hickey back after Rio probe, says new Olympic boss

She said the OCI executive did not know of their existence and that their legal advisers were studying them. The Oireachtas committee, however, is now exploring avenues to compel Hickey to appear before it.

According to sources, they believed the latest revelations about THG's involvement in future games had nothing to do with the criminal proceedings in Brazil, and that therefore there was no legal impediment to the former OCI president answering questions on this matter.

Committee chair Fergus O'Dowd indicated it will meet in the coming weeks to pursue this angle further. He also urged Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, to examine the possibility of re-opening the Moran Inquiry to look into these contracts. Hickey said the Moran report contained "significant inaccuracies" which he would address once legal proceedings in Brazil had concluded.

Sunday Independent

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