A judge-led inquiry into the Rio 2016 Olympics ticket-touting controversy has found no evidence of Pat Hickey, former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), being engaged in criminal activity.
The report into the scandal is due to be published within the next few days and could heavily impact Hickey’s trial for his governance of the organisation.
Judge Carroll Moran has failed to find any money trail that could link the former OCI boss to ticket touting. Stating in his report that the investigation was hindered by a lack of co-operation from Hickey and the IOC.
The local Rio Organising Committee did not even respond to the invite from the inquiry. In response, Judge Moran said there may be: “information significant to issues herein of which the inquiry is unaware by reason of the silence of the parties not participating,” according to the Independent.ie news website.
Judge Moran also said that setting up a Commission of Investigation with powers of compellability would not be recommended for a variety of reasons, including the potential cost to the State.
The report will be publicly released next week by transport Minister Shane Ross. It comes almost one year since he announced the establishment of the non-statutory inquiry that was originally supposed to take up to 12 weeks.
In July 2016, Brazilian prosecutors officially charged Hickey and THG Sports director Kevin Mallon over their part in the Olympic ticket touting scandal.
Hickey and Mallon, of the ticket and hospitality operator, are among nine people facing charges of ticket touting, forming a criminal cartel, illicit marketing, embezzlement, tax evasion, and money laundering.
Hickey denied that he had a covert or concealed relationship with THG Sports, a company that was not approved by the Rio organising committee. The OCI appointed Pro10 Sports Management instead, however, Hickey was still found to have alleged links with THG after his arrest in Rio.
Police found Mallon in possession of hundreds of tickets for Olympic events, including the opening and closing ceremonies.
Hickey said there was “absolutely no concealed relationship between me and THG or any of the other sponsors, or anybody else”.
The 72-year-old is in Ireland on bail, potentially facing a jail term of up to seven years if he is found guilty in Brazil.
In June, Hickey’s lawyers were looking to quash the government’s push to publish a report, claiming that the publication could prejudice his right to a fair trial.
However, this has been dismissed by the Attorney General’s office.
Image: Agência Brasil