Brazilian police say evidence links Pat Hickey and Marcus Evans

Investigators have examined the Olympic Council of Ireland president’s emails

OCI president Pat Hickey.

OCI president Pat Hickey.

 

Rio de Janeiro police say they have found email evidence of contacts between Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president Pat Hickey and Marcus Evans, the UK owner of controversial British ticket agency THG which was not authorised to be selling tickets for the Rio Games.

At a press conference investigators said an examination of Mr Hickey’s emails revealed he had been in contact with Mr Evans about the detention of THG’s Dublin finance director, Kevin Mallon, in Rio on August 5th for alleged ticket touting.

“The connection between the two is very clear,” said police investigator Ricardo Barbosa.

Police also said emails between the two men dated 2015 and 2016 showed Mr Hickey and Mr Evans discussing ticketing and hospitality at the Rio Games, even though THG’s bid to be the OCI’s official ticket vendor for the event was rejected by Olympic organisers in 2015.

Mr Hickey’s computers and mobile phones were seized last Wednesday when he was arrested at the International Olympic Committee’s hotel in Rio.

He is being held in a prison in Rio, where he is sharing a cell with Mr Mallon.

Mr Mallon was arrested at a hospitality event before the Games’ opening ceremony in possession of 823 tickets from the OCI allocation.

Several people at the event gave statements to police saying they were there to receive hospitality packages, including tickets, they had bought from THG.

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THG has said Mr Mallon was acting as a “collection point” for people who had bought tickets from the OCI’s official vendor, Dublin company Pro10.

Tuesday’s press conference was held after OCI official Dermot Henihan arrived at a Rio police station for questioning.

Two other OCI officials called in for questioning - Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin - were not with him.

Mr Henihan made no comment before going into the station.

Police obtained a court warrant to seize the three men’s passports last Sunday morning.

The warrant also authorised police to seize the passports of three other people, including John Delaney, the chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland who is also a vice-president of the OCI.

However, Mr Delaney had not travelled to Rio for the Games.

A police spokesman said if Mr Kilty and Mr Martin failed to show for questioning, they would be called a second time.

If they did not appear the second time, a judge could order them to be brought to a police station for questioning.

Another police source has told The Irish Times that emails also revealed Mr Hickey and Mr Evans discussed ticketing and hospitality for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in Korea.

In Dublin, meanwhile, the Government is understood to be willing to upgrade its investigation into the Olympics ticket controversy to a statutory inquiry if witnesses refuse to co-operate with the inquiry it is in the process of setting up.

Minister for Sport Shane Ross is to announce the terms of reference for a non-statutory inquiry on Wednesday. Such an inquiry does not have the power to compel witnesses to attend.

It is understood a clause is to be included in the terms of reference which would allow for the investigation to develop into a statutory inquiry if necessary. This would give it the power to compel witnesses and demand documents if the relevant bodies declined to co-operate.