OCI ticket deal may have breached criminal law, TDs told

Corporate enforcement office recommends committee examine criminal justice Act

The ODCE pointed to a particular offence of making gains by deception, which carries a five-year term. Photograph: Alan Betson

The ODCE pointed to a particular offence of making gains by deception, which carries a five-year term. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has advised TDs and Senators that the Olympic Council of Ireland’s ticket deal with THG may have amounted to deception and breached criminal law.

The ODCE was asked to consider the findings of the inquiry of Mr Justice Carroll Moran into the ticket-touting controversy.

The report found that THG, a British ticketing firm, established Pro10 to act as the OCI’ts ticket reseller for the 2016 Olympic games, after THG was rejected.

It also outlines how former OCI president Pat Hickey and THG owner Marcus Evans focused solely on the mutual financial benefit to the both companies.

In correspondence to the Oireachtas Committee on Sport, the ODCE found this was “the most serious aspects of the report”.

Recommendation

While every person is entitled to the presumption of innocence, it recommended the committee examine provisions of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.

It pointed to a particular offence of making gains by deception, which carries a five-year term.

The correspondence added: “In the context of the foregoing, it is important to bear in mind having regard to the various jurisdictions referenced in the report that, even if it were the case that a deception (or a conspiracy to deceive) occurred, the question would arise as to what jurisdiction(s) any such deception, or conspiracy to deceive, had occurred in.

“That would generally be a matter for counsel to advise on in the context of an advice on proofs. The Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 falls outside company law and, as such, the primary responsibility for investigating suspected offences under that legislation resides with An Garda Síochána. ”

Limitations

The ODCE stressed it could not find any example of a breach of company law contained with Mr Moran’s report. However, it pointed to the limitations on the inquiry including the lack of co-operation from key witnesses.

It said the honorarium payment of €60,000 to Mr Hickey over six years did not show any suggestion a breach of company law.

However, it added: “One point that is, however, worth noting in the context of the foregoing is that the OCI has been granted a tax exemption in accordance with the provisions of section 235 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.

“It occurs that the terms and conditions associated with the granting of that exemption may include conditions regarding the payment of sums to directors and officers of exempted bodies. However, that is a matter that the Revenue Commissioners would be best placed to assist the committee with.”