Pat Hickey and Kevin Mallon to face trial in Rio ticket controversy

Braxilian prosecutor charges 10 people in relation to ticket touting affair

Former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey. Photograph: Humberto Ohana/AFP/Getty Images

Former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey. Photograph: Humberto Ohana/AFP/Getty Images

 

Pat Hickey and Kevin Mallon must face trial in Brazil over their alleged role in the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) ticketing affair after a Rio de Janeiro judge accepted the charges made by a public prosecutor against them and eight others, it was announced last night.

Public prosecutor Marcos Kac charged the 10 with ticket-touting, ambush marketing, theft, tax evasion, money-laundering and criminal association.

The judge also ordered the passports of Mr Hickey and Mr Mallon be retained by the court and that Mr Hickey present himself before it every 20 days, ordered him to observe a 10pm curfew and banned him from attending any events linked to the Paralympic Games under way in Rio.

Mr Hickey’s new restrictions are the same as those a federal judge imposed on Mr Mallon as conditions for his release on August 27th after he won a writ of habeas corpus.

Mr Hickey was released three days later by a state judge who did not impose similar conditions.

The judge also said the conditions applied to the eight other people charged in the case, though none are currently in Brazil.

She also ruled that passports be returned to OCI officials Dermot Henihan, Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin after police said they were no longer persons of interest.

The three officials have already checked out of the hotel they were staying at in Rio, raising the possibility they could already be returning to Ireland, almost three weeks after the Irish delegation left Brazil.

Police this week provided more details of what they claim was a lucrative ticket-touting scheme that saw OCI tickets passed to British company THG, which was not authorised to sell tickets or ticketed hospitality at the Rio Games.

Mr Hickey and the others accused have denied any wrongdoing.

On Thursday, police released emails recovered from Mr Hickey’s devices which further call into question his claim – in an RTÉ interview on August 11th – that the OCI no longer had any association with THG, which had been its official ticket vendor for the London and Sochi Games in 2012 and 2014 respectively but whose application to repeat the role in Rio was rejected.

Paper trail

One email from THG owner Marcus Evans summed up the details of a meeting between THG and the organising committee of the next major Olympic event – the PyeongChang Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea in 2018 – for which the OCI already had an agreement with THG to act as its authorised ticket vendor.

Among the items discussed by THG director David Gilmore with the PyeongChang committee was an “Irish house concept”.

The controversy in Rio, sparked by the arrest of Mr Mallon, THG’s Dublin finance director, prompted Jon Tibbs, a London-based adviser to the OCI, to email Mr Hickey recommending that he “provisionally suspend” THG’s status as the OCI ticket vendor for PyeongChang.

The email, dated August 9th, concluded: “Then we have a paper trail with the IOC to show we have already taken action.

“We can use this with the media if/when the PyC relationship becomes public, which I fear will be at any time.”

By August 16th, an email from a Dublin solicitor to Mr Hickey and the man who would become acting OCI president after his arrest, William O’Brien, contained a draft letter to Mr Evans saying that, in light of the controversy in Rio, it was suspending the agreement between the OCI and THG for PyeongChang.

It is not clear if the letter was sent.

The next day Mr Hickey was arrested.