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Rio 2016 lawyer thinks Irish inquiry emails 'may have been marked as spam'

The Brazilian lawyer representing the local committee said that he was unaware that an Irish inquiry was trying to get in touch with him.

A LAWYER FOR the Rio de Janeiro local organising committee said “no-one formally got in touch” with him from Ireland, and that emails sent to him from the Moran Inquiry may have been disregarded as spam.

In his detailed report, published yesterday, Justice Carroll Moran said the probe was limited by a lack of communication from some Brazilian and international stakeholders.

Luiz Ryff, the Brazilian lawyer representing the local committee, said that he was unaware that an Irish inquiry into the Olympics ticketing controversy was trying to get in touch with him. He said emails received by the inquiry might have been disregarded as spam, and that no phone contact was made with him.

“I receive many emails every day from all over the world. It’s hard to know which ones to trust, which ones are real,” he said.

Justice Moran said he contacted the local committee in Rio by email several times, but only ever received one reply, to his first email. After that, nothing.

On 11 November 2016, the inquiry sent an email to the local organisers, laying out its terms of reference and a questionnaire. Ten days later, Rio 2016 ticketing manager Aurélie Berak replied. She said the entity “will gladly cooperate in this inquiry”.

However, Ms Berak advised that all future correspondence should go through their legal representative Luiz Ryff.

Email

On 23 November, an email was sent to Ryff, again attaching the terms of reference, and the same questionnaire.

The email noted:

Given your undoubted experience and knowledge of how these things work, and help you can give me on these matters would be of enormous benefit and would be greatly appreciated.

When no reply was received by 6 December, the inquiry sent another email, this time stating that it was “anxious to make progress in its work.” Again, no reply was received.

On 15 December, the inquiry emailed Berak once again, this time requesting a copy of an official manual that was used to guide National Organising Committees (NOCs) and ATRs (authorised ticket resellers) regarding ticket sales. The email stated, “it would be of enormous benefit to this inquiry if we could be given a copy of this document.”

At that point, Rio 2016 was informed that its legal representative had not been in touch.

The email read:

The inquiry has also written to Mr Ryff on other related matters but has not heard back – perhaps Mr Ryff is away? Any further assistance you could give the inquiry on this would be very helpful.

A month later, on 12 January, a further email was sent.

“The inquiry would welcome an early response to my email of 15 December 2016 requesting advice on the availability of the IOC/ROCOG (International Olympic Committee/Rio Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) Manual for Ticket Sales.

“It would also welcome any observations you may wish to make regarding Ryff’s availability.”

On the same day, the inquiry wrote another reminder to Ryff:

“If there is any difficulty or obstacle in the way of you or ROCOG providing this assistance to the inquiry I would be obliged to know so that the inquiry can take this into account.”

Justice system

Ryff said that the proceedings of the Irish inquiry had nothing to do with him, or with Rio 2016.

We don’t have anything to do with anything like that. We didn’t even follow the case. That is a matter between the Brazilian justice system and Hickey.

Ryff said that nobody from the inquiry made “formal contact” with him. He said that while it was possible that he received emails as detailed by the inquiry, he has no recollection of having read them. The lawyer said he was not aware of the inquiry’s request for information.

However, Mario Andrada, Communications Director for Rio 2016, said a decision was taken at the time to not share privileged information, so as to not prejudice investigations locally.

“Because this was a case that was to be judged in a Brazilian court, we couldn’t run the risk of influencing this in any way.”

He said Brazilian authorities were familiar with ticketing processes and systems, and that an Irish court could have requested this information from them directly. and not from the local committee.

“We had a lot of contact with the Brazilian police and authorities in the run-up to the games, on ticketing, so the local police knew all of our systems well.”

Andrada said it was not their responsibility to provide information to a judicial inquiry in another jurisdiction.

“I don’t know how it works in Ireland, but if a Brazilian court needs information, they would contact the courts in the other country.”

However, he said that he did not know why this was not relayed to Justice Moran at the time.

Meanwhile, a date for court proceedings has still not been set in Rio de Janeiro.

Prosecutor Marcus Kac said he had no idea when former OCI president Pat Hickey’s court case would be heard.

Comments have been disabled due to ongoing legal proceedings

Read: Pat Hickey and other key figures criticised for not cooperating with Rio ticketing probe

Read: Shane Ross: ‘We can still hold statutory inquiry into Rio ticketing affair’ >

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About the author:

Sarah O'Sullivan

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