Latest: Rio police 'have access to emails between Hickey and Evans'

Latest: Rio police 'have access to emails between Hickey and Evans'
Marcus Evans of THG Group

Update 9.05pm: Police in Rio have claimed that they have access to emails between Pat Hickey and Marcus Evans of the THG Group relating to the sale of tickets for the 2016 Rio Olympics, writes Daniel McConnell and Matt Sandy.

This is despite a ban on THG handling tickets for the Rio Games put in place by the Rio authorities.

At a press conference tonight, officers told the media that weekly emails between Mr Evans and Mr Hickey, who recently “temporarily” stepped aside as OCI president date back to 2010, when THG won the rights to handle the tickets.

Crucially, officers claimed they also have obtained one email between the two men on 3 August, less than three weeks ago, on the eve of the Games commencing.

A week on from Mr Hickey’s controversial arrest, officers said their probe has established that the OCI enabled tickets to THG via Pro10, an Irish company based in Lucan, Dublin.

The relationship between THG, Pro10 and the OCI is central to the investigations not only in Rio but to the pending State Inquiry here in Ireland, the terms of reference of which are to be published today.

In 2010, THG won the rights to handle the OCI’s tickets for the London Olympics in 2012.

At the time, Mr Hickey recorded a video praising the work of THG adding they should get first refusal on handling the tickets for the Rio Games.

However, Rio Authorities in 2014 following the Brazil Soccer World Cup, prohibited THG from being a ticket agent.

But then Kevin Mallon, a THG employee, was arrested in possession of 781 OCI designated tickets two weeks ago, and has remained in prison ever since.

Both THG and Pro10 have consistently denied any wrong doing and have said they welcome the Government’s inquiry.

Hickey, who is detained at the notorious Bangu Prison, did not appear before a Rio court yesterday because prosecutors have not yet been able to present their case before a judge.

Hickey’s legal team had earlier confirmed that it could be Friday before he is in court.

“The judiciary recess ended today and the prosecutor has not yet present his case before the judge. So it will not be possible for the judge to whom the case will be assigned to already be aware of the matter,” they said this morning.

The backlog of some 800 cases dates back to 5 August when the courts went on holidays with Mr Hickey’s case not lodged until 19 August. The cases will be processed in the order at which they came in meaning Mr Hickey will have to wait.

Meanwhile, the three OCI officials presented to the Rio Police Station yesterday afternoon for questioning.

Honorary General secretary Dermot Henihan is "no longer of interest to officers" having met them today.

In an email on 3 August, 2016, released by police at a press conference today, Patrick Hickey wrote to Marcus Evans: “That sounds great Marcus.

“Things are coming together here in Rio but with a lot of effort being put in.

“We have tickets left that Pro 10 don’t want so before we get rid of them have you any use for them?’

Evans replied: “Hi Pat – Glad to hear all coming together, I am afraid I have more than I need as well so all we can do is put back on portal for hopeful resell.”

Hickey replied: “Thanks Marcus.

“I can confirm to you now that I do not require any of the opening or closing ceremony tickest that was part of our NOC allocation. You can use them all."

Police added later that they had wanted to interview John Delaney and Willie O'Brien about their involvement in or knowledge of the alleged ticket touting scam because “they are the big guys in the council”.

"We wanted to know about his involvement in this case but he didn't come to Brazil. All the emails were sent to Patrick Hickey, copied to John Delaney and Willie O'Brien because they are the big guys in the council," one officer said.

Update 3.25pm: The lawyer for Pat Hickey has confirmed that the 71-year-old will not appear in court today.

Mr Hickey had been expected to appear before a judge in Rio today.

However, Mr Hickey's solicitor confirmed that this will now not happen, saying: "The judiciary recess ended today, and the prosecutor has not yet present his case before the judge, so it will not be possible for the judge to whom the case will be assigned to already be aware of the matter."

It could be several days before Mr Hickey's case is heard by a court in Brazil.

Officials says there is a backlog of cases to be heard by courts in Rio de Janeiro, which were closed for the Olympic Games.

Latest: Rio police 'have access to emails between Hickey and Evans'

Update 9.55am: A statement has been released this morning by the lawyer representing former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey.

“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,” stated Arthur Lavigne.

“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.”

Update 9.22am: Draft terms of reference for the State inquiry into the Rio Olympics ticket scandal suggest that it could probe ticketing arrangements for the 2012 Olympics as well as this year's Games.

Potential names are being discussed by the Sports Minister Shane Ross and Fianna Fáil.

Earlier:

Three OCI executives have agreed to be questioned by police in Brazil today, after their passports were taken during a search operation last Sunday.

Chef de Mission for the Olympics Kevin Kilty, OCI general secretary Dermot Henihan and CEO Stephen Martin were forced to cancel their flights home and move to different hotels.

Dermot Henihan
Dermot Henihan

The head of the FAI John Delaney was back in work in Dublin yesterday, despite a warrant issued in Brazil to seize his passport.

It is unclear as to whether former OCI president Pat Hickey will appear in court in Rio later today.

He is facing charges relating to ticket touting at this year's games.

Mr Hickey has his passport confiscated and is currently being held at Bangu prison following his arrest last week.

Latest: Rio police 'have access to emails between Hickey and Evans'

It has been reported that Mr Hickey has a second passport that is with his lawyers. The Department of Foreign Affairs said that there could be a number of reasons for a person to have a second passport.

Last week, Minister for Sport Shane Ross confirmed that an independent inquiry will take place into the events surrounding the ticket scandal.

Fianna Fail's Spokesperson on Sport, Robert Troy, has said that Opposition parties should be consulted on what aspects the inquiry will examine.

“I do believe that this inquiry needs a cross-party support and that’s why I wrote to Minister Shane Ross requesting that he and his departmental officials consult with me and indeed other Opposition spokespersons in relation to what exactly should be in the terms of reference of this inquiry,” he said.

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