Olympic Council of Ireland denies knowledge of alleged ticket touting after Irish executive's arrest

Brazilian police detained Kevin James Mallon in crackdown on alleged touting

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) is investigating how Rio 2016 tickets earmarked for the organisation allegedly came into the possession of an individual arrested on Friday. 

Police in Brazil believe they have dismantled a major international touting ring after confiscating more than 1,000 high-value Olympic tickets.

An Irish executive of a British ticketing firm was among the suspects arrested last week. 

Kevin James Mallon, who works for THG Sports, was detained in Rio de Janeiro along with another employee of the firm, an interpreter named as Barbara Carnieri, according to the Civil Police.

The OCI said in a statement that it had no knowledge of the two people arrested. 

"The OCI has launched an immediate investigation with our authorised ticket reseller, Pro10, into how these individuals were allegedly in possession of OCI allocated tickets," it said. 

"The OCI strictly adheres to the IOC regulations around ticket allocation, sale and re-sale.

"We are treating this matter with the utmost seriousness."

Hospitality packages

Detectives believe the scam may be bigger than a similar one during the 2014 World Cup that saw Brit Ray Whelan, director of a FIFA-approved hospitality firm, accused.

The then CEO of THG, James Sinton, was arrested as part of the investigation into the alleged World Cup scam, police said.

Authorities believe the gang in Rio had privileged access to tickets to top events, which may have originally been intended for hospitality packages, and sold them on the black market.

Mallon and Carnieri are said to have been caught red-handed with dozens of tickets, including hospitality packages, at a serviced apartment in Barra da Tijuca, near Rio’s Olympic Park.

Mallon has been accused of conspiracy, illicit marketing and facilitating the touting of tickets. Carnieri is accused of illicit marketing.

Police said in total they have seized more than 1,000 “very high-value” tickets.