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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Ticketing scandal

OCI has appointed a security firm to secure, copy and seal all its data for the Government's inquiry

Today the Government announced that the inquiry, chaired by Justice Carroll Moran, will examine ticket sales for the London (2012) and Sochi (2014) Games, as well as Rio 2016.

Updated 8.14pm

THE MINISTER FOR Sport, Shane Ross, has announced the terms of reference of the non-statutory inquiry into the Rio Olympics ticket scandal.

The inquiry aims to investigate what practices the Olympic Council of Ireland adopted when governing the receipt, distribution and sale of Olympic Games tickets (OCI).

It will inquire into the actual processes – including procurement and contract awarding by the OCI – as well as the practice of reselling tickets as part of hospitality packages.

In a statement this evening, the OCI said it welcomed the inquiry, and also noted its terms of reference.

The OCI also said an international accountancy firm will be appointed this week to conduct its own review of ticketing arrangements for the Rio Games.

“Earlier this week a data security firm (Espion) was appointed by the OCI to secure, copy and seal the OCI server and all OCI electronic data,” the OCI statement added.

All of the retrieved data will be reviewed by the soon to be appointed accountancy firm as part of its review. The findings of this review will be given to Judge Moran to be examined as part of his inquiry.

The OCI also referred to statements by Labour leader Brendan Howlin earlier today. Howlin said he was unsure if Article 32 of the OCI Articles of Association prevented it from cooperating with the State inquiry.

“The OCI’s legal advice is that there is no impediment whatsoever to the OCI cooperating fully with the inquiry and it intends to do so,” the organisation said in the statement.

Olympic Games 2014-2016

The scope of the Government inquiry will not just investigate the accreditation and ticket allocation by the OCI of this summer’s games. It will also investigate procedures in relation to the following:

  • 2016 Summer Olympic Games
  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games
  • 2012 Summer Olympic Games

The judge will also be allowed to investigate corporate governance within the OCI and the State funding of the OCI by the Sports Council of Ireland.

The National Olympic Committee and the accreditation provided to individual accreditation holders with access to the Olympic Games events will also be investigated.

Sale of tickets 

How the International Olympic Committee – including any subsidiaries - distributed and sold tickets to the National Olympic Committee will also be looked at.

Ross and Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan also announced that Justice Carroll Moran, a former High Court judge, will chair the inquiry.

He will take up the position immediately.

File Photo Hon. Judge Carroll Moran has been appointed to chair the inquiry into the Olympic Council of Ireland allocation.

Justice Moran will make recommendations arising from the inquiry, which could be to recommend a commission of investigation on a statutory basis.

The findings and recommendations of the inquiry will be delivered within 12 weeks, although that can be extended if Justice Moran feels necessary, Ross told a press conference today.

Under the terms of reference, Justice Moran is permitted to consult with any person or organisation he sees fit.

The Olympic Council of Ireland, THG and PRO10 have all committed to full co-operation with the inquiry.

Rio Olympics 2016 PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Speaking to the media today, Ross said he didn’t foresee any problems in the OCI Executive being full and frank with the inquiry.

Asked by if he was comfortable the inquiry would look beyond the Rio Games, the Sports Minister said there would be no boundary set, and that the inquiry could become a full statutory inquiry if necessary.

“We’re absolutely satisfied that this is the appropriate approach, it leaves open the possibility of a statutory inquiry, if the judge finds that is necessary,” he said.

Ross also said they expect the inquiry to last 12 weeks, but that “if the judge is being led down a route he didn’t expect” that it could be extended.

The Sports Minister also said that the Government is looking for more clarification from a statement, yesterday, by Rio police that they want to speak to the “Minister of Ireland”.

“I think they said they wanted to speak to a minister,” Ross said.

“We’re looking for more clarification. We’re totally prepared to co-operate if they make a request through the normal channels.

“We respect the Brazilian authorities, but we are certainly concerned that there are Irish citizens in Brazil in this sort of situation, and we are concerned with that, yes.”

Ross also said to the Department of Foreign Affairs to express the Government’s concerns.

Need for statutory inquiry 

Ross has come in for some criticism this week in relation to the inquiry, specifically in relation to the inquiry not being able to compel witnesses to give evidence.

Labour’s Brendan Howlin wrote to the minister to say a statutory inquiry is needed into the Rio ticketing scandal.

He said inquiring into private bodies that are not amenable to public sector control could lead to difficulties “down the road” if there are no statutory powers supporting the inquiry.

Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on sport Robert Troy also said he concerns about the “effectiveness” of the inquiry.

“I believe the government should keep open the option of converting to a statutory inquiry,” he said.

Patrick O’Donovan, Minister for State at the Department of Transport and Sport, said that Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley was one of the first people to suggest a non-statutory inquiry.

“We have kept open the option of going further if we need to, but in the first instance we are anxious to get this inquiry up and running,” O’Donovan told the press conference today.

“It will start this evening, and our involvement in it will cease this evening. The judge will take over, and our next involvement will be when he reports to us, and we bring a report to Government.

“If there are further steps that we have to take at that stage then we’ll do that. We considered all the submissions brought by the Opposition… Nobody has a monopoly on this, we’re as anxious to get to the truth as everybody else.”

24/8/2016. Rio Ticket Scandal. L TO R. Independen Leah Farrell Independent Alliance Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross with Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O Donovan outside the Department of Transport. Leah Farrell

Ongoing investigation 

Yesterday, investigating officers in Rio revealed they had seen weekly emails between Marcus Evans of THG and former Olympic Council of Ireland chief Pat Hickey  dating back to 2010.

The investigators say their probe has uncovered that the OCI facilitated tickets to reach THG (the hospitality group) by transfer through Pro10, an Irish company based in Lucan, Dublin.

THG had been the OCI’s official ticketing agent for the London Olympics in 2012, but had not been authorised by Brazilian authorities to sell tickets for the Rio Games. THG and Pro10 both say they back the Irish Government’s independent inquiry into the affair, as has the OCI.

Rio police also claim that Patrick Hickey and Marcus Evans constructed Pro10′s response after Kevin Mallon’s arrest.

Hickey is currently sharing a cell with fellow Irishman Kevin Mallon in the notorious jail.

It’s not believed that Hickey’s case will be heard before the courts until next week because of a backlog that’s been created by the games.

Asked whether FAI CEO John Delaney specifically should co-operate with the inquiries of the Rio police, Minister for State Patrick O’Donovan said that they want anybody who has any knowledge in this investigation to co-operate fully with it.

We’re not of a mind to be naming individuals, but we would ask and expect that anybody who has any level of knowledge would fully co-operate with Mr Justice Moran.

“There’s going to be no limit and no boundaries put on him.”

Additional reporting Daragh Peter Murphy. Comments have been disabled for legal reasons. 

Read: Rio police publish emails between Pat Hickey and THG discussing sale of Ireland’s Olympics tickets>

Read: Olympic Council of Ireland says Pat Hickey is entitled to “natural justice” as Ross announces inquiry>