Pat Hickey and THG co-ordinated response to ticket row, emails show

Correspondence between the two appears to contradict claims made by OCI president

Pat Hickey and British businessman Marcus Evans co-ordinated the responses of the two companies caught up in the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) ticketing controversy, emails between the two men seen by The Irish Times indicate.

The emails appear to contradict the claim by Mr Hickey, who has temporarily stepped aside as OCI president, that the organisation no longer had any association with Mr Evans’s company THG.

The claim was made in an RTÉ interview given after THG's Dublin finance director Kevin Mallon had been arrested in Rio.

The emails include one from Mr Evans where he apparently asks Mr Hickey for his views on a proposed response to the scandal from Irish ticket agent Pro10 Sports Management, even though Pro10 is not part of Mr Evan's global sports hospitality group, THG.

Material seen by The Irish Times includes an email from Mr Evans to Mr Hickey dated August 10th in which the businessman included the “suggested response drafted by Pro 10 to ROCOG [Rio Olympics organising committee] – I am getting feedback from lawyers in UK/Ireland and Brazil but do you have any initial thoughts”.

A spokesman for THG said he had no comment to make on the new material and referred to earlier statements that THG was confident it would be shown in time that it had done nothing illegal. There was no response from Pro10.

OCI statement

Mr Hickey’s response to Mr Evans does not refer to the draft Pro10 letter but instead includes an early draft of an OCI statement released on August 11th. “Here is the statement that I spoke about and unless I hear back from you I will take it that [. . .] is happy with it also.”

On August 5th, Mr Mallon, an Irish executive with the THG group, was arrested in Rio as part of a police investigation into alleged ticket touting and was found to be in possession of 823 tickets that had been allocated to OCI.

Mr Mallon, who remains in custody, has said he was merely acting as a “collection point” for customers of the OCI’s authorised ticket reselling agent, Pro10.

On August 8th, Mr Evans emailed Mr Hickey a revised version of what would become THG’s first statement about Mr Mallon’s arrest.

Mr Hickey replied: “We are happy with this revised statement. Do you need us to give you some names and email addresses of key Irish Media.”

Mr Evans replied: “No need Pat thx but we have these.”

OCI used THG as its ticket reselling agent for previous Olympics, but switched to Pro10 after the Brazilian authorities last year refused to grant THG a licence to act as a ticket agent for the Rio Games.

Pro10 is owned by three Irish businessmen.

Mr Hickey (71) was arrested by the Brazilian police on August 17th and he remains in jail in Rio, where he has not been charged.

His family yesterday issued a statement expressing strong concern about his welfare and how he is being treated by the criminal justice system in Brazil.

They called for the intervention of Government Ministers and are seeking a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said he would meet the family, but pointed out that his department cannot interfere in any way in the judicial processes in another country.

Gambling case

Meanwhile, two Irish Olympic boxers are facing disciplinary action by the International Olympic Committee for gambling during the Rio Games.

An OCI source confirmed last night that the boxers were reprimanded for a breach of the code of ethics by betting on Olympic sports during the Games. It is understood that the OCI will issue a statement today on the matter.