Minister announces inquiry to be led by a retired judge into ticket touting allegations

Minister announces inquiry to be led by a retired judge into ticket touting allegations

Update 6.45pm: The Board of the Olympic Council of Ireland has released the following statement: "The Board of the Olympic Council of Ireland regrets that recent events in Brazil have overshadowed the many great performances of Team Ireland at the Rio Olympic Games. With 11 top 10 finishes at this stage this has been one of the most successful performances at an Olympic Games by an Irish team."

"The Board is taking the recent events in Rio very seriously and wishes to state the following:

• A top priority of the Board is supporting the current Irish athletes and teams in Brazil.

• The Board has no further comment on the charges against Mr Hickey who is receiving his own legal advice and is entitled to natural justice and due process.

• Independent legal advisors Arthur Cox have been appointed to advise the board of the OCI.

• As referenced in a statement earlier the Board will co-operate fully with a State inquiry and it will now appoint an external independent firm to carry out a review.

"The Board has not had an opportunity to meet in person to discuss events in Rio due to the ongoing Games, however, it will meet this weekend and a further statement will be issued in due course."

Update: 5.25pm: The Minister for Sport, Shane Ross, has announced a judge-led inquiry into the ticket touting allegations at the Rio Olympics.

The Minister met the Attorney General Maire Whelan this afternoon to decide on the type of inquiry to conduct.

Minister Ross has released a statement saying: "We have agreed to establish a non-statutory inquiry to be carried out by a retired judge. We believe that a judge-led non-statutory inquiry is the most appropriate mechanism to establish the facts.

"We intend to appoint the judge next week and that the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry will be finalised shortly thereafter."

Minister announces inquiry to be led by a retired judge into ticket touting allegations

Update 4.05pm: The Minister for Sport, Shane Ross, has met with the Attorney General to decide what form an inquiry into the Olympic ticket debacle may take.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said the meeting was fruitful, and a framework is being finalised.

An announcement is expected shortly on what form the inquiry may take.

Options include a full Commission of Investigation, and a judge- or barrister-led inquiry .

Update 2.45pm: Pat Hickey has been transferred this morning to Bangu Prison in Rio, the same prison as Kevin Mallon.

Update 1pm: The Olympic Council of Ireland have released a statement saying that they will stop their own internal inquiry into the ticket touting allegations in order to commission an independent inquiry.

They also said that they will fully co-operate with the Government inquiry into the allegations.

Their statement said: "The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) confirms that it will cooperate fully with any State inquiry into its handling of ticketing arrangements for the Rio Olympics.

Minister announces inquiry to be led by a retired judge into ticket touting allegations

"The OCI will now also commission its own independent inquiry into the ticketing arrangements for Rio 2016. The previously announced internal inquiry by the OCI has been discontinued."

Meanwhile, the Olympic Council of Ireland says it's still trying to confirm reports that its President Pat Hickey has been denied bail in Brazil.

Mr Hickey was questioned by police in Rio after his release from hospital yesterday.

The Sports Minister Shane Ross is also meeting with the Attorney General shortly to discuss what options there are for the type of inquiry that can take place.

Minister announces inquiry to be led by a retired judge into ticket touting allegations

Update 9.50am: PRO10, the sports management company, the Irish Authorised ticket reseller for Rio 2016 has also released a statement, welcoming an independent inquiry into the ticket touting allegations.

In the statement PRO10 said they will comply fully with the proposed Commission of Investigation and they welcome Minister Ross's efforts to uncover the facts of this matter as soon as possible.

"We have nothing to hide and are therefore anxious that the full facts are established and made public as soon as possible so that our good name can be exonerated."

Update 8.30am: THG Sports, the company that employs Irish man Kevin Mallon, who was arrested in Rio de Janerio, has called for an inquiry into the alleged ticket touting scandal in Rio.

In a statement released to the media, THG Sports said they would welcome such an inquiry, which they say will prove that they have operated lawfully at all times.

"THG would like to see that an independent inquiry, under the chair of a respected Irish legal figure, be actioned expeditiously."

Minister announces inquiry to be led by a retired judge into ticket touting allegations

Earlier: It has been reported that Pat Hickey has been refused bail from Jail in Rio de Janerio where he faces allegations of illegal resale of tickets for the Olympics.

However, The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has said it is still trying to confirm reports that its President, Pat Hickey, has been denied bail in Brazil.

OCI President Pat Hickey is facing three specific charges - they include ticket touting, the formation of a cartel and ambush or illicit marketing.

The head of the Olympic Council of Ireland was been discharged from hospital last night (Irish time) and taken to a police station as part of an investigation into the illegal sale of tickets for the Rio Games.

Patrick Hickey was detained at a hotel in the Barra da Tijuca area of the city and was later taken to hospital with chest pain before he underwent cardiac tests.

Minister announces inquiry to be led by a retired judge into ticket touting allegations

The 71-year-old, who stood down from his role following his arrest, was monitored at nearby Samaritano Hospital until around 4pm local time on Thursday.

The OCI said: "The Olympic Council of Ireland can confirm that Pat Hickey has been discharged from hospital and has been accompanied to a police station to complete a deposition."

Mr Hickey has been formally accused under Brazilian law of ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing.

Minister announces inquiry to be led by a retired judge into ticket touting allegations

This is a stage in the legal process that is not equivalent to being charged in British law but is a preliminary step in that direction. He has denied any wrongdoing.

After his arrest Mr Hickey, from Dublin, stepped aside from his positions as the International Olympic Committee member in Ireland, president of the European Olympic Committees and vice president of the Association of National Olympic Committees.

Minister announces inquiry to be led by a retired judge into ticket touting allegations

An IOC spokesman said at the time: "The International Olympic Committee has been informed by the Olympic Council of Ireland that allegations have been made against its president Mr Patrick Hickey in relation to facilitating the selling of tickets above face value.

"The IOC respectfully takes note of the decision by Mr Hickey to step aside as president of the OCI and all other Olympic functions (IOC member in Ireland, EOC president, ANOC vice president) until this matter is fully resolved. Until then, the presumption of innocence prevails."

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