Police in Rio de Janeiro say they have uncovered emails between Pat Hickey and banned ticket agent THG on the eve of the Olympic Games relating to the alleged ticket-touting cartel.
The police claims come as ministers here pile pressure on FAI chief executive and Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) vice-president John Delaney to break his silence and “co-operate fully” with the State inquiry into the ticket scandal.
At a press conference in Rio, one police officer said it was very important to consider the “money-laundering aspect of the investigation”.
“We will be forwarding all these documents to the money-laundering unit to show that there is a huge mark-up between the face value and the price they were being sold for,” he told reporters.
Police claimed they have access to emails between Mr Hickey and Marcus Evans of THG relating to the sale of tickets for the Olympics. This is despite Rio authorities baning THG from handling tickets for the Games.
Officers told the media weekly emails between Mr Evans and Mr Hickey, the former OCI president, date to 2010, when THG won the rights to handle the tickets.
Officers claimed they have also obtained an email chain between the pair on August 3, on the eve of the Games.
One email from Mr Hickey states: “Thanks Marcus. I can confirm to you now that I do not require any of the opening or the closing ceremony tickets that was part of our NOC allocation. You can use them all. Best regards, Pat.”
A week after Mr Hickey’s arrest, officers said the investigation has established the OCI enabled tickets for 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 State inquiry in Ireland, the terms of reference of which are to be published today.
The pressure on Mr Delaney comes as the State’s inquiry is to extend its terms of reference back to 2010, when the first contracts were awarded to THG.
The Government will also reserve the right to launch a full statutory inquiry with powers to compel people to give evidence, should they fail to co-operate.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed yesterday said it is “incumbent on all parties” to co-operate with the inquiry, including Mr Delaney.
“I think there’s an obligation on anybody,” said Mr Creed.
“In the context of a non-statutory inquiry, there isn’t compellability. But it is incumbent on all parties — and the OCI are saying they will co-operate — and John Delaney, not only as chief executive of the FAI but also as an OCI member, has to live up to the spirit of that OCI commitment now that they will co-operate. And therefore we would like to hear from all parties, including Mr Delaney.”
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.
Meanwhile, two members of the OCI 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 not a suspect. He did not comment as he exited a black saloon car into a police station.
The changes to the investigation’s terms of reference were put forward by opposition parties and accepted by Government last night before the document ispublished today.
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