Rio police satisfied two OCI officials not involved in touting

Police likely to recommend return of passports to Stephen Martin and Kevin Kilty

Two OCI officials, Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin, leave  a police station in north of Rio after being interviewed.  Photograph: AP Photo/Leo Correa

Two OCI officials, Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin, leave a police station in north of Rio after being interviewed. Photograph: AP Photo/Leo Correa

 

Two Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) officials are witnesses but not suspects in their investigation into the alleged ticket touting controversy at the Rio Games, Brazilian police said yesterday.

Police chief Ronaldo de Oliviera said there was “a great chance” they would recommend that the passports of Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin be returned to them after they were interviewed at a police station in the north of Rio yesterday.

Mr Oliviera said the two witnesses told them Patrick Hickey had responsibility for OCI ticketing at the Olympics.

The two men, along with a third OCI official, Dermot Henihan, had their passports seized on Sunday by police in an operation that also recovered 228 unused tickets from Ireland’s allocation for the Games.

Police say the officials told them the tickets were intended for use by Irish athletes.

Mr Henihan was questioned on Tuesday and police say they are also satisfied that he had no involvement in the alleged touting scheme.

They confirmed they would recommend to the court – that issued the warrant to seize his passport – that it be returned to him.

Special court

Meanwhile, the Irish man whose arrest sparked the affair had his case assigned to a court. A document published on Rio’s judicial system’s website said Kevin Mallon’s case will be handled by Rio’s special court for supporters and large events – which was set up in the city to handle legal matters arising from its staging of the World Cup and Olympic Games.

Mr Mallon, an employee of sports hospitality company THG, was arrested, along with a colleague, on August 5th at a hospitality event ahead of the opening ceremony of the Rio Games in possession of 823 tickets from the OCI’s ticket allocation. Since his arrest, Mr Mallon has been held in a remand prison in Rio by order of a judge from the same court who will now hear his case.

His lawyer Franklin Gomes has already questioned the court’s competency to oversee the case, claiming judicial overreach. Mr Mallon is facing charges relating to ticket touting, as well as a charge of criminal association, according to the court document.

Second passport

Also charged with Mr Mallon is Marcus Evans, the British businessman who owns THG. Four other THG employees are also charged, including a second Irish man David Gilmore as well as Barbara Carnieri, the THG colleague arrested with Mr Mallon but subsequently released.

On Tuesday, police released emails between Mr Evans and Pat Hickey, who has temporarily stepped down as president of the OCI, which appear to discuss passing OCI tickets for the Games to THG.

The OCI had nominated THG to be its official ticket vendor for the Games but that application was rejected by organisers, meaning THG was not authorised to sell tickets or hospitality packages for the event within Brazil or abroad.

Police arrested Mr Hickey on Wednesday of last week and he is sharing a prison cell with Mr Mallon.

A police file on Mr Hickey’s case was due to be sent to a public prosecutor yesterday. Once sent, the prosecutor has five days to formally charge Mr Hickey. Once charged, a judge can decide to throw out the case, or, accepting it, to release Mr Hickey until the case is resolved.

Investigators say Mr Hickey’s lawyers surrendered a second passport belonging to him and, as they now have both, they would not object if a judge ordered his release from prison while the case proceeds.