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Police in Rio seeking arrest of another OCI director

Rio police are seeking the arrest of OCI sports director Martin Burke, though he is not named on the same charges as Pat Hickey and Kevin Mallon.

File Photo The family of Pat Hickey, who is being held by Rio Former president of the OCI Pat Hickey Source: RollingNews.ie

POLICE IN RIO de Janeiro are seeking the arrest of Martin Burke, Sports Director with the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), in relation to his alleged involvement with the ticketing controversy which has evolved in Rio in recent weeks, since the beginning of the Olympic Games.

Detective Aloysio Falcao, one of the lead investigators in the case, said that Martin Burke would be charged along with Pat Hickey, Kevin Mallon, and seven other men said to have been involved in the ticketing scheme.

Police say that exchanges of emails and text messages, along with spreadsheets found on Burke’s hard drive show his involvement in and knowledge of the alleged scheme.

However, the public prosecutor in Rio has now confirmed that Burke is not named on the charges against Hickey and Mallon. The Rio police are however still seeking his arrest.

Ricardo Barbosa, another investigator in the ticketing controversy in Rio de Janeiro said that not one member from the International Olympic Committee had approached Civil Police since the arrest of Pat Hickey in Rio.

Olympic team mangers Martin Burke (end of row, back left) pictured with fellow Olympic team managers prior to the Beijing Olympics in June 2008. Burke is the only person in this photo wanted by Rio police Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“No one from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approached us, not to ask any questions, nor to clarify procedures. There has been no pro-activity whatsoever coming from the IOC.”

Thomas Bach

Police say they are interested in speaking with IOC President Thomas Bach, as part of a new phase in their investigation. Police were awaiting Bach at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games, in the Maracana Stadium last night, but Bach did not show up. It is thought he is no longer in Brazil.

Police referred to text messages passed between Pat Hickey and Bach in July 2015, in which Hickey requested 500 additional tickets for high demand events during the games. Police said that an additional 296 tickets, for stated high demand events, were awarded to the OCI following this interchange of text messages.

Meanwhile, Marcus Kac, the public prosecutor who received all findings from the Civil Police investigation into alleged illegal ticket sales, and who passed charges relating to ten men, including Pat Hickey and Kevin Mallon, to a local court in Rio on Tuesday, said the two Irish men could face eight to 10 years in prison.

Summing up the crimes that have been levied against the two Irish men, for their alleged involvement in the selling of Olympic tickets, the prosecutor told RTÉ, that the sentence could reach up to 20 years. However, he said, if the defendants did not have any past history with police, this would likely be reduced to eight to 10 years, if they are condemned.

Charges

Currently, the charges are with a judge at the Special Court for Supporters and Large Events in Rio de Janeiro. It is expected that the judge will decide in the coming days whether or not the cases should be accepted or rejected.

Both Pat Hickey and Kevin Mallon from THG face charges of criminal organisation, ticket touting, ambush marketing, larceny, money laundering, and tax evasion.

The public prosecutor Marcus Kac said that it may be at least one to one and a half years before either Irish man reaches trial in Brazil, and before any decision is made to return their passports, or not. No request has been made for the return of either passport as of today.

Police sources say they have no further need for Irish men Dermot Henihan, Kevin Kilty, and Stephen Martin; members of the Olympic Committee of Ireland, whose passports were seized during the police investigation. However, all three passports still remain with authorities in Brazil, awaiting a court decision to release them.

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Read: New individuals to be named as part of Rio ticket controversy on Thursday

Read: Pat Hickey’s family says he’s receiving ‘necessary support’ from Irish Government

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Sarah O'Sullivan

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