Two members of the Olympic Council of Ireland have been named as suspects in the touting investigation in Brazil, police said last night.
Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin will be interviewed by police tomorrow after requesting time to secure legal representation.
Another official, Dermot Henihan, was interviewed yesterday but is no longer a suspect. He did not comment as he exited a black saloon car into a police station.
“The two are suspects and we will continue to investigate,” the detective leading the probe for the civil police, Ricardo Barboza de Souza, said.
The three have not been arrested, but have had their passports confiscated after police raids on Sunday. Police also want to speak to OCI vice-president John Delaney, acting president William O’Brien, and Linda O’Reilly.
The pair join OCI president Pat Hickey, 71, and Kevin James Mallon, 36, of ticketing firm THG Sports, as suspects in the €3m investigation, said to have involved hundreds of tickets being sold for up to €7,000.
Police said they have also found more evidence that implicates Mr Hickey.
They say they have found an email from August 3, two days before the Olympics, in which Mr Hickey discussed tickets for the opening ceremony with Marcus Evans, the owner of THG Sports, who police are also seeking to arrest.
The name of Mr Mallon, arrested on August 5 for touting tickets in Rio, was mentioned in the emails, police said, suggesting this meant Mr Hickey was aware of the alleged scam to sell tickets.
THG Sports does not have the rights to resell Rio 2016 tickets. The selling of tickets for events for above their face value is a crime in Brazil.
“The OCI was the facilitator of these tickets finding their way to THG,” said Mr Barboza. “Emails confirm that Patrick Hickey was in contact with Marcus Evans.”
“Evans was the big organiser of this criminal scheme. The link between the two men is very clear to us.”
Police also found 30 opening ceremony tickets in the possession of THG that were meant for the Irish “Olympic family” and not to be resold at all, detective Aloysio Falcão said. “It is clear that Hickey passed these tickets to Marcus Evans.”
Police also accused Mr Hickey of lying to them “again” over the whereabouts of Ms O’Reilly, his personal assistant. They say he told them she was still in the Olympic Village, when in fact she was staying in a separate apartment.
She since left Brazil on Saturday, before her passport could be seized, they said.
The latest developments came after police raided the offices of the OCI at the Olympic Village and the Windsor Marapendi Hotel where officials were staying on Sunday, aiming to stop key officials from leaving Brazil.
They found 228 tickets there, which Mr Kilty told them were meant for athletes, they said. That is in addition to the 823 previously seized from Mr Mallon.
“Hickey told us that the responsibility for the decision to engage THG was a unanimous one made by the 12 members of the board of the OCI,” Mr Falcão said.
Mr Hickey and Mr Mallon are sharing a cell at the notorious Bangu prison in Rio de Janeiro while their lawyers attempt to secure bail.
- Fiachra Ó Cionnaith Political Reporter
The non-statutory inquiry into Ireland’s Olympics ticket touting scandal could stretch back as far as 2010 and may include a formal clause allowing a State inquiry if witnesses refuse to attend.
The plans have already been outlined after discussions between the Government and opposition and ahead of the expected publication of the 12-week investigation’s terms of reference today.
The Irish Examiner understands an initial draft by attorney general Máire Whelan, Sports Minister Shane Ross, and junior sports minister Patrick O’Donovan was given to all opposition parties and leaders on Monday evening, with responses provided yesterday by 5.30pm.
The initial document was deliberately “flexible” and included options to allow the inquiry to examine issues pre-dating Rio 2016 with the general but unstated intention that London 2012 and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics would be included.
The terms said the inquiry should examine the policies, procedures and practices relevant to the receipt, distribution and sale of tickets, while a further focus was placed on examining the relationship between THG, Pro10, and the OCI.
In responses yesterday, Fianna Fáil said that the inquiry must stretch back to 2010 — when THG received the London 2012 ticket reselling contract — to compare any criteria for the award in 2010 to the Pro10 award in 2015.
Fianna Fáil has also said that a specific stipulation should also be included to allow a fully blown State inquiry to be set up if witnesses refuse to attend the non-statutory investigation.
Sinn Féin has called for terms to include how OCI tickets were obtained by a THG executive in Rio; if the 2010 or 2015 contracts were tendered; and an immediate audit of the governance structures of the OCI.
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