OCI ticket scandal: Here's what we know so far

Further questions have arisen over the OCI ticket scandal after Shane Ross met with Pat Hickey

OCI ticket scandal: Here's what we know so far

A file image of gymnastics tickets for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

News emerged last week that an Irish man had been arrested in possession of hundreds of tickets for Olympic events. Police in Brazil claim that they were being sold for more than face value.

UPDATE: Unconfirmed reports suggest Pat Hickey has been arrested in Rio

Since then a number of different parties have been involved regarding his arrest including the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Shane Ross and the sports group that the man arrested was representing.

Here's what we know so far.

Arrest

Irishman Kevin Mallon was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday August 7th, along with his translator Barabara Carnieri of sports hospitality company THG Sports, amid investigations into what police in Rio believed could be a major international touting ring. 

Ricardo Barbosa, who is heading up the investigation with the Delegacia de Defraudações e Falsificações (Department of Fraud and Falsification) in Rio stated that the monitoring and investigation had taken over a year, but on the day of the raid they found "813 tickets with the group. The total value of all the tickets would be would be R$626,000 (€175,000) but with the illegal sales the group would have gotten exorbitant profits, up to R$10 million (€2,804,000)."

Mr. Mallon was arrested carrying an identification that claimed he was part of the Marcus Evans Group at the time that he was arrested, which brought the group itself under closer inspection from the police in Brazil. 

Minister Shane Ross

Speaking to G1 Globo in Brazil, Barbosa also added that the investigation is just beginning, and that they have a lot of evidence against the group as a whole, noting that they also tried to pull off the same type of scheme in several countries, including during the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. 

However, speaking to The Mail on Sunday, lawyers for Evans denied that he had any involvement, while THG stated that they had been "advised by their local lawyer that there is no evidence to support any charges and the investigation has produced no elements linking any executives of THG to the allegations made."

In the wake of the arrest, the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) stated that they were launching an investigation into how Mallon was arrested with a number of tickets that were marked for the OCI. 

Who are the official ticket retailers - why did they change?

THG had been the official ticket seller for the Olympic Council of Ireland during the London Olympics of 2012 and the Sochi Winter Olympics of 2014, but for Rio 2016 the OCI now deals with the Pro 10 Sports Management.

THG no longer has a permit to sell Irish Olympic tickets.

Pro 10 management say the Irish man arrested in possession of the tickets [Mr Mallon] was holding them for collection from its clients.

In an email, seen by state broadcaster RTE, Pro 10 said: "At no time did we authorise Mr Mallon to sell any tickets on our behalf nor to the best of our knowledge did he sell any tickets. He merely acted as a collection point for individuals transacting directly with ourselves."

Pro 10 claim they know Mr Mallon was headed to Rio to look after clients of THG Sports, so requested that he bring tickets over to Rio on their behalf.

Pro 10 added that the tickets had already been paid for legitimately and Mr Mallon was not being paid by Pro 10.

Pat Hickey

In a statement they said: "These [tickets] had been made available for sale through the authorised ATR [Authorised Ticket Reseller] process and were sold to legitimate customers of PRO 10 at face value plus the allowed ATR reseller fee.

"We should also note that it is normal practise for ATRs to have available many tickets in Rio for collection and sale through the authorised processes at games time."

Minister for Tourism in Brazil

OCI President Pat Hickey met with Mr Ross in the early hours of Monday morning [August 15] which ultimately proved fruitless.

Mr Hickey said afterwards: "We had an excellent meeting with the Minister [...] I'm restrained in what I can say because we took Senior Counsel's advice two days ago and the Senior Counsel's opinion is that while there is an Irish citizen in jail, we have to be extremely careful in what we disclose. He is innocent until proven guilty and anything we say could be prejudicial to a fair trial."

Shane Ross said the OCI refused to answer the questions on the basis of the legal advice that they received.

On Monday morning, he expressed his shock at the fact  the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) refused his request to add independent members to its inquiry into alleged ticket touting.

The OCI is currently in the process of investigating how Rio 2016 tickets earmarked for the organisation allegedly came into the possession of Mr. Mallon.

Mr Ross had previously insisted that for full transparency into the case, however the OCI declined to change its panel or answer any questions about the controversy due to legal issues.

In a statement released by Mr Ross he said it would be "beneficial for both the OCI and the minister if the OCI would add independent members" to its inquiry.

Mr Ross said the OCI also decided not to answer questions about the tickets scandal "on the grounds that it might prejudice the case before the Brazilian courts".  

Mr Ross said he did not accept that there was any legal basis for refusing to accept independent members.

Mr Hickey's connection with sports group THG also runs further than being ATR back from 2012 to 2014. The OCI says his son Stephen Hickey was a temporary manager at THG Sports at the time of the Olympic Games in London.

Additional reporting thanks to Catherine Healy