OCI officials ‘no longer considered suspects’ in ticket investigation

Three Irish officials who were questioned by police in Brazil over the Olympic ticketing scandal are expected to soon be on their way home to Ireland.
OCI officials ‘no longer considered suspects’ in ticket investigation

Dermot Henihan, Kevin Kilty, and Stephen Martin are no longer being considered suspects by police in the investigation that has snared OCI president Patrick Hickey.

Police are now treating them as witnesses and not suspects.

“We will consider a petition to the court to return their passports,” detective Ronaldo Oliveira, the head of specialist operations at the Civil Police in Rio de Janeiro said. “There is a very good chance of this.”

Police are pleased the officials have co-operated with the investigation into the OCI and ticket sales by the unauthorised company THG Sports in Brazil.

Hickey remains in prison in Rio alongside THG Sports executive Kevin Mallon, as part of the €3m investigation, in which police allege Olympic tickets with a face value of €380 were being illegally sold for up to €7,000.

This week, the case against Mallon, the Irishman who was the first arrested on August 5 accused of illegally selling 823 Olympic tickets, was opened at a special Olympic court in Rio. Also listed as defendants are his translator Barbara Zancope Carnieri and THG Sports directors Marcus Evans, 52, David Patrick Gilmour, 35, Martin Studd, 49, and Martin van Os, 45.

Police passed the case to the court, which has passed it to the public prosecutor’s office, which will have 15 days to consider the case, court documents said.

Hickey’s case, and that of the directors of Pro 10 Sports Management, the firm with the rights to sell Rio 2016 tickets in Ireland, has not yet been sent to the court.

Hickey and Mallon are sharing a cell at the notorious Bangu 10 prison on the outskirts of Rio. Hickey has not received any visitors other than Irish officials, as visitors must wait 30 days for a permit and his wife has already left Brazil.

Inmates suffer “inhuman” conditions in the jail and are sometimes so hungry they resort to eating wet toilet paper, a report by public defenders found last year.

Neither Hickey’s lawyers, a judicial spokesman, nor police would comment on any updates on his situation last night.

Police remain keen to speak to OCI vice-president John Delaney, acting president William O’Brien, and Hickey’s personal assistant Linda O’Reilly, who left Brazil before police tried to seize their passports on Sunday.

It is unclear what steps they will take to get their testimony, or the presence in Brazil of THG owner Evans, who they accused of masterminding the scheme.

On Sunday, police raided OCI offices at the Olympic Village and the Windsor Marapendi Hotel where officials stayed. The nine accused face charges of facilitating touting, which carries a sentence of two to four years; forming a criminal cartel, which has a sentence of between one and three, and illicit marketing, which carries a sentence of six months to one year.

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