Claim OCI had cut links with THG ‘difficult to reconcile’

Standing in the lobby of a hotel in Rio last year, just days before his arrest by Brazilian police, Pat Hickey did an interview with RTÉ news.

Claim OCI had cut links with THG ‘difficult to reconcile’

On camera, he said that the OCI had severed its links with THG after the Sochi Games in February 2014.

However, “this account is difficult to reconcile with his relationship with Marcus Evans and THG, as is shown by the volume of e-mails between the parties and the information given to the inquiry by contributors,” Judge Carroll Moran concluded.

The report details an extraordinary exchange of emails between Mr Hickey and Mr Evans and the efforts made to make their arrangement work.

On July 9, 2009, Mr Evans sent an email to Mr Hickey referring to a meeting over dinner and attaching a letter of application by Marcus Evans Limited to become the official ticket and hospitality partner of the OCI for the Olympic Games in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020.

Throughout the first half of 2012, emails were exchanged between Mr Hickey and Mr Evans, discussing the offer for the 2016 and 2018 Games.

This resulted in an agreement dated March 27, 2012 by Mr Evans and signed by him on March 28, 2012 on behalf of Marcus Evans Limited, and signed and dated July 2012 by Pat Hickey on behalf of the OCI.

Yet there was no reference to this agreement in minutes of meetings of the Executive Committee of the OCI in July 2012, much of which relate to urgent issues concerning the pending London Games.

At the next meeting of the Executive Committee on October 24, 2012, again there was no reference in the minutes to the agreement having been signed.

Pat Hickey

Pat Hickey

In 2014, concerns were raised at international Olympic level relating to THG on foot of allegations that it was involved in selling tickets above market value during the World Cup 2014.

In an email to Mr Hickey dated February 9, 2015, Mr Evans strongly rejected these allegations, believing they were made in “bad faith by a competitor”.

On February 23, 2015, Mr Hickey emailed Mr Evans saying he was in engagement with the international authorities, “lobbying hard” and was “quietly confident” that THG would be cleared.

Two days later, on February 25, 2015, Mr Hickey told Mr Evans he had met with the international authorities and that he was shown documents including an arrest warrant for, and also shown brochures relating to, THG packages being offered for sale in Brazil.

Mr Hickey went on to inform Mr Evans: “Naturally I gave them the usual argument. However I can say to you that your agents were sloppy and should have been more careful, especially as it was coming up to ATR appointment time”. He also spoke of “playing his aces in the background”, and that “we will have to be careful”.

On April 1, 2015, Mr Hickey emailed Mr Evans to say that the IOC was still pushing for what he termed “Plan B” (the OCI to be appointed ticket seller with THG as sub-agent) and said: “It is very essential now that your solicitors engage with Sergio [Sergio Mazzillo, legal counsel to ROCOG] on this matter as on our side IOC and I we [sic] want you appointed as ATR.”

In a slightly different tone, however, Mr Hickey emailed Mr Evans later that same day, April 30, 2015, pointing out that: “….Rio are incensed on the attached brochure as they guess very well for that price a ticket has to be included and this is one of the major reasons for blocking you.... I had an off-the-record chat with Legal guy at the IOC and I think it’s very unlikely that the IOC would have the legal capacity to force Rio to appoint THG as sub-agents.

“So, therefore, I do not think this is going to happen. We have to put our thinking caps on as to how THG could operate. Is there another agent who you could use as a sub agent with whom you have a good relationship with and you could operate through them…” (underlined for emphasis).

Then the two men moved to set up Pro 10 as a ticket agent and it is clear both men had a detailed role in it.

In reply on August 15, 2015 Mr Hickey indicated to Mr Evans: “Thanks Marcus,….I will hold off on the appointment of the new ticket seller as it gives me more negotiating power.”

From the material provided to the inquiry and from the consultations with members of the staff of the OCI, it appears that Pro 10 was not a genuine ticket seller, but its involvement disguised the continuing role of THG and Mr Evans as the real or de facto ticket seller, the report concluded.

More in this section