Monday 27 January 2020

Games organisers assist Rio police with probe into alleged touting operation

Rio 2016's organisers are assisting local police in an investigation into an alleged touting operation involving tickets allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI).

Brazilian police have said Irishman Kevin Mallon and Brazilian interpreter Barbara Carnieri were arrested in Rio on Friday on suspicion of illegally reselling tickets for the opening ceremony at inflated prices.

A statement issued by the police on Monday said it had seized more than 1,000 tickets, some of them fake,

The police added that the hotel room Carnieri and Mallon were using was also allegedly being used as the base for London-based international ticket reseller and corporate hospitality firm THG, part of Ipswich Town Football Club owner Marcus Evans's group of companies.

THG has not commented.

The OCI issued a statement saying it has no knowledge of either of the individuals arrested and has launched "an immediate investigation" with its authorised ticket reseller, Pro10, to find out how the two suspects were allegedly in possession of Irish tickets.

"The OCI strictly adheres to the (International Olympic Committee) regulations around ticket allocation, sale and re-sale," the statement added.

"We are treating this matter with the utmost seriousness."

That was also the message in Rio from both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Games' organising committee.

"We are helping the local authorities to pursue the investigation as it's very important that we don't have these events," said Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada.

"The matter is still under investigation, though, and we must support the authorities."

The crackdown on touting comes after several problems with counterfeit tickets and credit-card fraud at the World Cup in Brazil two years ago.

Rio police also arrested 10 individuals from Sao Paulo on Friday for trying to resell opening ceremony tickets bought with cloned credit cards, and Andrada told journalists that 40 touts had been arrested outside the Olympic Park on Monday.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said the IOC treats these stories "very seriously, and it's important to follow them up, but we have to wait for the police to finish its investigation".

PA Media

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