Lawyers for Hickey seek to block publication of Rio ticketing report
Government is eager for findings of inquiry into Olympics controversy to be published
Former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland Pat Hickey, is still awaiting a court date to face ticket-touting charges in Brazil. Photograph: Getty Images
Lawyers for the former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey have warned against the publication of a report into the Rio Olympics ticket-touting controversy on the grounds that it could prejudice his right to a fair trial.
Mr Hickey, now back in Ireland on bail, is still awaiting a court date in Rio to face various charges for what has been termed ambush marketing, theft, tax evasion, money-laundering and criminal association.
In an interview with Newstalk Breakfast, to be broadcast on Wednesday, Mr Hickey said he was innocent of all charges.
Mr Hickey said his Irish legal team had warned High Court judge Justice Carroll Moran, who has conducted a non-statutory State inquiry into the Rio Olympics ticket-touting controversy, against publishing his findings because it could prejudice his right to a fair trial in Rio.
A draft of the judge’s report has been made available to persons named in the report but it has not been published.
In the interview, part of which was reproduced in the Irish Independent today, Mr Hickey said he has not seen the final draft of the report but said his lawyers were concerned its publication would prejudice his right to a fair trial in Rio.
“Even worse still, any media reports can also be used by the prosecutor in Brazil against me.”
“Now my senior counsel and junior counsel in Ireland were aghast at this … When my Brazilian lawyers confirmed this to my Irish lawyers, everyone got a big shock,” Mr Hickey said.
Mr Justice Carroll Moran’s report has been submitted to Minister for Transport Shane Ross.
Mr Ross has since forwarded the contents to the new Attorney General Seamus Wolfe to assess what aspects of the report can be published.
The Government is eager for the inquiry to be released in full.
Mr Hickey also disputed a claim that scandal has cost the OCI €1.5 million to date.
Mr Hickey’s successor at the OCI Sarah Keane told the organisation’s recent agm the issue had already consumed €1.5 million of the OCI’s reserves, leaving them with a deficit of €826,000 for 2016 – although the legal costs of €1.04m to date, are not yet finalised.
The agm was told that without their ample cash reserves, the OCI would likely have been bankrupted by the controversy. Ms Keane, who succeeded Hickey at an EGM last February, described the past year as “chaotic, dramatic, traumatic, and extremely costly”.
The impression the media give is that I was the sole cost of this spend of €1.5 million
Mr Hickey in his interview with Newstalk, which is quoted in today’s Irish Independent, responded by saying: “I can categorically tell you that is not the case because I have been able to check figures,” he claimed.”
“There is full insurance cover at the moment for my costs - and the impression the media give is that I was the sole cost of this spend of €1.5 million.
Mr Hickey said his costs were “around €280,000 and there is an insurance policy I put in place over 15 years ago. It is called directors’ and officers’ liability and it is particularly for something like what happened to me.”
“The cover on that policy is €1 million and my fees are taken out of that.”
Mr Hickey also said: “I’ve been able to establish after I was arrested in Rio, the executive committee created a crisis management committee - which consisted of three people - and they had powers of expenditure.”
“The €1.5 million was done without my knowledge, I know nothing about it - this was done by the crisis management committee.
“It’s just that the media gave the impression that I was the cause of that cost”.
Mr Hickey also denied that he had a covert or concealed relationship with The Hospitality Group (THG) Sports.
THG wasn’t approved by the Rio organising committee, the OCI appointed Pro10 Sports Management instead, but Mr Hickey was still found to have alleged links with THG after his arrest in Rio.
Police in Brazil said they found a THG employee, Dublin man Kevin Mallon, in possession of hundreds of tickets for Olympic events, including the opening and closing ceremonies.
Mr Mallon was later charged with ambush marketing, ticket touting, tax evasion, criminal association, and larceny. His company was not authorised to sell tickets for Olympics, police said.
Mr Hickey said there was “absolutely no concealed relationship between me and THG or any of the other sponsors, or anybody else.”
He said THG was the biggest sponsor of the OCI and contributed €1.5 million. He said this was “a phenomenal sponsorship and my job was to facilitate them to get the best deal possible on tickets.”
‘Best deal possible’
The OCI’s figure of €1.04m included 10-15 different sets of lawyers, legal representation to all OCI staff, including those requiring legal representation in Rio, and Mr Hickey, who under the existing articles of the OCI, is entitled to have his legal fees covered.
The controversy has also cost the OCI another €214,000 to pay for the yet to be completed Grant Thornton Report, which looked at their own ticketing arrangements; they’ve also paid out €84,000 in public relations fees, €70,000 in data protection, consultancy, IT, €31,000 in accommodation, travel and subsistence, and €18,000 on the Deloitte Report, which examined the OCI’s governance in light of the Rio controversy.
THG continues to be the Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) for the OCI, despite being central to the ticket-touting controversy of the Rio Games.
As things stand, however, THG who previously acted as the ATR for the OCI at London 2012 and the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, keep their links with the OCI.