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Hickey welcomes report into Rio 2016 ticket scandal

Pat Hickey has today (Monday) said he looks forward to resuming his international Olympic duties after stating that the report by former Irish High Court judge, Justice Carroll Moran, into the ticketing scandal surrounding the 2016 summer Olympic Games clears him of any wrongdoing.

The report has been released today following the scandal that erupted during last year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro. Former European Olympic Committees (EOC) and Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president Hickey is still set to stand trial alongside nine other executives after a Rio de Janeiro court in September 2016 accepted prosecutors’ charges in the case surrounding an alleged illegal ticket ring run during Rio 2016.

The defendants include Hickey, who has stepped down from his positions, which include International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board membership, and Kevin Mallon, a director of international sports hospitality company THG Sports.

Martin Burke, the OCI’s sports director, four other THG officials and three from Dublin-based Pro10 Sports Management, Ireland’s official Olympic Games ticket reseller, were also indicted in the court document.

Police have claimed that Hickey conspired with businessmen to transfer Olympic Games tickets illegally from Pro10 to THG Sports, which was a non-authorised vendor and allegedly sold them for very high fees. Police investigators said the scheme was planned to produce $3m (€2.58m).

All involved have denied wrongdoing but authorities are said to have uncovered evidence suggesting the ring was in operation for around eight years and was already planning for other Olympic events, including the 2020 summer Games in Tokyo.

Irish broadcaster RTE said today’s report found that Pro10 was not genuine and provided an inadequate service. Pro10 was formed after THG was rejected as a partner by Rio 2016, with the Moran report detailing that it was used to disguise the continuing role of THG.

Judge Moran also said balancing payments should have been present in the OCI’s accounts to account for extra premium tickets. However, they were absent and there was no supporting documentation, which Moran said was a concern.

The formation of the report has been hindered by its status as a non-statutory one without powers of compellability. THG, Pro10, Hickey and the IOC chose not to cooperate, citing the potential for self-incrimination amid the ongoing criminal case in Brazil.

In a statement reported by the Irish Times newspaper, Hickey said that while the report contains “significant inaccuracies” he is “pleased to see my reputation and good name have been cleared” and that there is “no allegation of criminality or financial impropriety”.

Hickey also criticised Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross for failing to bring to the attention of the Irish Assembly the agreed legal procedure on the matter, which “would have resulted in substantial saving to the Irish taxpayer.” The Times said the report has cost €312,765 to produce.

Hickey said: “I have read the report of Judge Carroll Moran S.C. and while the report contains significant inaccuracies I am pleased to see my reputation and good name have been cleared in that there is no allegation of criminality or financial impropriety.

“The launching and conducting of an inquiry while proceedings were still outstanding in Brazil was ill-conceived arising from an inability on the part of participants to partake in the inquiry based on legal advice.”

He added: “I await the outcome of legal procedures in Brazil and regrettably I and my family are frustrated by the delays in the process which are outside my control. However, my legal team and I remain totally confident that I will be cleared of all charges in Brazil. I look forward in due course to resuming my international Olympic duties.”