'Happy to have cooperated. Nothing to say, sorry': Irish Olympic executives say Pat Hickey led ticketing

'Happy to have cooperated. Nothing to say, sorry': Irish Olympic executives say Pat Hickey led ticketing

Two Irish Olympic executives have told Rio police that the Olympic Council of Ireland's long-time president, Patrick Hickey was in sole charge of ticketing matters, a top investigator has said.

Pat Hickey has been arrested in the touting probe.

OCI's team leader Kevin Kilty and chief executive Stephen Martin (pictured arriving for questioning) spoke to police for nearly four hours as witnesses in the investigation that has ensnared Pat Hickey.

A Brazillian judge will now decide when and whether the two will have their passports returned.

Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin
Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin

"They cooperated with us in confirming the role of Patrick Hickey as the one who handled ticket operations. All of the actions were decided by him. So the police is putting together this puzzle," Ronaldo Oliveira, one of the chief investigators, said.

The two Olympic executives wore Ireland's team tracksuits as they offered evidence.

"We are very happy to have co-operated. Nothing to say, sorry," Mr Kilty said as he left the police headquarters with Mr Martin and another man.

Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin leave the Rio Police HQ.
Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin leave the Rio Police HQ.

OCI secretary general Dermot Henihan spoke to investigators on Tuesday but they ruled out his involvement in the scheme, saying there was no evidence that indicated wrongdoing on his part.

On Tuesday, Rio police said they suspected that the highest-ranking members of the OCI plotted with businessmen to help transfer tickets to an unauthorised vendor who would sell them for high fees disguised as hospitality services.

The three officials' passports, phones and laptops were seized in an Olympic Village raid hours before the closing ceremony. In Mr Kilty's room, police found 228 tickets, which he told police were reserved for athletes but had been left unused.

On Thursday, Mr Oliveira declined to say whether the tickets were being used illegally, adding that they were still investigating.

He said that there was a good chance that Mr Kilty, Mr Martin and Mr Henihan would be given back their passports soon, enabling them to return home.

The alleged scheme unravelled at the beginning of the Games when Kevin Mallon, head of British hospitality provider THG Sports, was arrested in Rio with tickets that were allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland.

Mr Hickey, 71, was arrested last week in a dawn raid at his hotel and transferred to a hospital with chest pains.

Mr Hickey (pictured), a member of the International Olympic Committee's ruling executive board, was in charge of the influential umbrella group for Europe's Olympic bodies.

Now he faces charges of conspiracy, ticket scalping and ambush marketing, with authorities accusing him of being part of a plot to make $3m by illegally selling Rio Games tickets above face value.

The strongest evidence police have found are emails exchanged between Mr Hickey and the head of company that was not an authorised vendor discussing opening and closing ceremony tickets to resell.

Mr Hickey is being held in Rio's Bangu prison complex. On Wednesday, his lawyer Arthur Lavigne said his arrest had "no legal support".

“Mr Hickey has been arrested due to suppositions that are not supported by any material evidence or proof of the alleged facts presented by the police,”he said.

“His arrest has no legal support.

“The investigation did not bring one single slight indication that Mr Hickey could be involved with the facts therein investigated, and his detention was required by the police authority under mere assumptions.”

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