Rio 2016: Decision expected on Kevin Mallon’s release

Dublin finance director’s lawyer says client confident of being out of custody soon

The OCI’s official ticket vendor, Pro10 Sports Management, told Olympic organisers that Kevin Mallon was acting as a collection point in Rio for individuals transacting directly with it Photograph: Tasso Marcello/AFP/Getty Images

The OCI’s official ticket vendor, Pro10 Sports Management, told Olympic organisers that Kevin Mallon was acting as a collection point in Rio for individuals transacting directly with it Photograph: Tasso Marcello/AFP/Getty Images

 

A judge in Brazil is expected to decide today whether the Irishman arrested in Rio de Janeiro for alleged ticket touting at the Olympic Games should be released from prison.

Ribeiro Dantas, who sits in the superior court of justice in Brasilia, Brazil’s highest appeals court, is believed to have taken a decision on the petition for habeas corpus filed last week by lawyers acting for Kevin Mallon.

But the lack of a signature on the ruling before the close of business on Friday prevented its publication.

Mr Mallon, the Dublin finance director of British sports hospitality company THG, has been in jail since he was arrested at a Rio hotel on August 5th in possession of several hundred tickets, including many from the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) allocation. He was charged with being involved in the illegal resale of tickets for more than their face value.

His lawyer, Franklin Gomes, who visited him in prison on Friday, described Mr Mallon as “calm and confident” that he will be out of custody soon. “He knows he did nothing wrong. He has no idea why this is happening to him. He is calm and in good health and safe,” said Mr Gomes.

Collection point

Last week the OCI’s official ticket vendor, Pro10 Sports Management, told Olympic organisers that Mr Mallon was merely acting as a collection point in Rio for individuals transacting directly with it.

If granted habeas corpus, Mr Mallon will be immediately released, though it is unlikely he will be able to leave Brazil while the investigation into his case continues. His legal team says it is confident he will be freed, stating there is no evidence he was illegally selling or intending to supply tickets to touts.

“Kevin has been accused of crimes he did not commit,” said Mr Gomes. “He was not selling tickets above face value. There is no proof, as the police claim, that he was distributing tickets for the purpose of ticket touting. There is no proof of credit card or cash transaction at the hotel at the time of his arrest.”

Minor crime

The lawyer also criticised the decision by a lower court in Rio to remand its client during the investigation, saying that as ticket touting is a minor crime in Brazil, Mr Mallon should have been released after his arrest upon surrender of his passport.

If the superior court denies habeas corpus, Mr Gomes said he will immediately appeal to Brazil’s supreme court. “Our first objective is to free Kevin.”

His lawyers have turned to the higher court in Brasilia because they say the reduction in the court service in Rio during the Olympic Games was prejudicing his chances of a quick release.

Mr Gomes said Mr Mallon was in Brazil providing hospitality to THG Sports clients but this did not include Olympic tickets. He said those who approached the company for tickets were told to contact an official distributor. He said the THG clients Mr Mallon was with at the time of his arrest had contracted the company’s services in 2014 and 2015.