A multi-millionaire British football club owner who is known to keep a deliberately low profile is this morning at the centre of Ireland’s Olympics ticket touting controversy alongside four other directors of one of his lucrative firms.
Marcus Evans, the 52-year-old owner and chairman of English Championship side Ipswich Town FC since 2007, is today the subject of an international arrest warrant due to the growing scandal engulfing this country’s Olympic games.
The Bury-born businessman was yesterday named by Brazilian police alongside fellow THG Sports directors David Patrick Gilmore from Ireland; Maarten Van Os from the Netherlands; Martin Studd from Britain; and the previously arrested Irishman Kevin James Mallon.
And while relatively little is known about four of the individuals - whose company have insisted all are entirely innocent of any allegations - Mr Evans has received notable attention in the past despite his limited public appearances.
The 52-year-old is known to have made his millions in sports-related hospitality services, and came to public prominence in 2007 when he bought sleeping football giant Ipswich Town FC.
Despite paying off the then £32m debt of the club - formerly managed by Roy Keane and currently managed by Mick McCarthy - and injecting £12m into the team, nine years on Ipswich remain in English football’s second tier.
In 1983, Mr Evans founded his Assisted Promotions company, specialising in live business, sports and entertainment events with offices in Dublin, Chicago and Kuala Lumpur, among others.
However, despite amassing a small fortune he has attempted to maintain a low profile, with Money Week magazine reporting in 2006 that there were few publicly available photographs of him.
In 1992, Mr Evans renamed Assisted Promotions The Hospitality Group (THG), which is now part of the wider Marcus Evans Group, and has previously attempted to buy the Daily Mirror for over £700m.
The deliberately low-profile individual’s firms have previously been involved in an unrelated court battle over the right to run hospitality packages for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and won the right to be the official ticketing agency for the London 2012 Olympics.
The 2007 Rugby World Cup issue involved a hearing at the Paris Commercial Court where Mr Evans was awarded the right to run hospitality packages without the approval of the organising committee.
He won the case on the grounds that his packages were for receptions before and after the matches, but not tickets themselves.
In 2012, his company was appointed the official ticket agency for the London Olympics, while a small number of his firms are also based and registered in Bermuda.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved