Close ties between firms at heart of Olympics ticket touting scandal revealed

Close ties between firms at heart of Olympics ticket touting scandal revealed

A “close commercial relationship” exists between two firms at the heart of the multi-million euro Olympics ticket touting scandal, it was admitted last night writes Daniel McConnell and Fiachra Ó Cionnaith .

THG Group, which has seen one of its directors arrested in Rio and others named in international arrest warrants, confirmed the connection with Pro10 despite earlier denials the companies are linked in any way.

Both firms have been caught up in a growing Olympics crisis after Irishman Kevin Mallon (pictured) was arrested in Rio attempting to sell 781 Olympic Council of Ireland-designated hospitality tickets for substantial price mark-ups.

Mr Mallon’s firm had previously been warned it did not have any Olympics licence to resell tickets in Rio after the licence was given to Pro10, which was registered in Ireland last year.

However, when the Irishman was arrested in Rio in possession of the tickets last week — a crime in Brazil punishable by up to two years in jail — he said he was simply helping the smaller company and was only in Brazil to sell separate hospitality hotel packages.

Amid allegations by Brazilian police that THG has been involved in a decade-long global ticket touting scandal it has attempted to cover-up by “camouflaging” increased prices by including hospitality services, the company initially denied any connection to Pro10.

However, a THG spokesman last night told the Irish Examiner it has “close commercial links” with the smaller firm.

“There may well have been a close commercial relationship between Pro10 and THG because that is a normal thing when they are doing big things in Rio,” said the spokesman. “These guys [Pro10], I am not excusing it and I do not know the answer, but these guys are a small company, when this news broke they didn’t know how to handle it.”

Pro10 was registered here in 2015 and subsequently won the Olympics ticket re-sale licencing contract.

Meanwhile, despite an Interpol arrest warrant for four THG directors, including Dublin-based David Patrick Gilmore and two directors of Irish firms, it is understood gardaí cannot act on the request without a lengthy High Court case.

Separately, minister of state for sports Patrick O’Donovan declined to express confidence in Olympics Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey over the affair.

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