The company authorised to sell Irish Olympic tickets has claimed it always acted properly and fully in line with guidelines.
PRO10 Sports Management, who was authorised to sell the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) allocated tickets, said they had simply given tickets to Irishman Kevin Mallon to allow their customers collect them in Rio.
It comes as Sports Minister Shane Ross prepares to fly to Rio de Janeiro tomorrow to meet with the head of the OCI, Pat Hickey, to question how around 1,000 tickets reportedly ended up on the black market.
Mr Ross said he was “uneasy” with how the OCI intends to investigate the allegations of ticket touting and has called for an independent person to be involved in the internal probe.
In a statement released yesterday, PR10 said: “The tickets Mr Kevin Mallon, an employee of THG group, had in his possession were held on our behalf to be made available simply for collection by Irish and other European customers of Pro 10 in Rio.
“These had been made available for sale through the authorised Irish Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) process and were sold to legitimate customers of PRO10 at face value plus the allowed ATR reseller fee.”
The statement added that it is “normal practice” for ATRs to have tickets available for collection in Rio and the company had suffered “significant commercial loss” as a result of the tickets being seized.
There are now four investigations under way — one criminal — into the allegations.
Mr Ross said he felt “uneasy” at the fact that the OCI inquiry may not be independent.
“What I am not happy about is the make-up of the committee. I think that the independence of the OCI committee is something we should look at.
“It does appear from what he [Mr Hickey] said... that the committee looking into this consists of the vice-president of the OCI, the secretary general of the OCI. They are approved by the executive committee of the OCI.
“The problem here is that the Olympic Council of Ireland is a player itself,” he told RTÉ.
Mr Ross’s position was backed by Health Minister Simon Harris, who said there are “very serious questions that need to be answered” by Irish Olympic officials. Mr Harris said the make-up of any group investigating the black market tickets scandal must be decided by Mr Ross to ensure its independence.
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