The Moran Inquiry into alleged ticket touting involving the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) at last year’s Rio 2016 Games has found that the country’s authorised reseller was merely a front for the barred THG.
The report was commissioned after then-OCI president Pat Hickey was arrested and charged over touting at last year’s Games. Hickey and THG executive Kevin Mallon are among nine people facing trial in Brazil over ticket touting, forming a criminal cartel, illicit marketing, embezzlement, tax evasion, and money laundering.
The report by retired judge Carroll Moran said Dublin company Pro10 was not genuine or fit for purpose and provided an inadequate and chaotic service.
According to the RTE news channel, the Moran Inquiry concluded that Pro10 was used to disguise the continuing role of Marcus Evans Group-owned THG, which had been rejected by the Rio organising committee.
Judge Moran found that Hickey did not bring before the OCI’s executive committee the rejection of THG, its continuing involvement, or the appointment of Pro10. When THG’s authorisation for Rio 2016 failed, Evans allegedly communicated to Hickey an option of forming a new company to act as the authorised ticket reseller with some contractual and/or agency relationship with the OCI. Soon after, Pro10 was incorporated.
The Moran Inquiry cast doubt on THG’s activities, revealing that the company paid $1m for ticketing rights to London 2012 and Sochi 2014 but with seemingly no explanation on how it would recoup the money.
Judge Moran said it was difficult to see how this cost would be consistent with the allowed 20 per cent premium on the quantity of tickets from the OCI.
THG, Pro10, Hickey and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not cooperate in the investigation, citing the issue of self-incrimination given that criminal charges have been brought in Brazil. The OCI did provide emails and some executives were interviewed.
Shane Ross, Ireland’s Minister for Sport, said: “I understand that those parties have the right not to incriminate themselves. Judge Moran recognises in his report that this was a legitimate position for them to take. I do not believe that it has fundamentally undermined the value and benefit of the insights that we now have as a result of Judge Moran’s careful analysis.”
Hickey said in a statement released to the InsideTheGames website that the report contains “significant flaws and inaccurate assumptions”. He added: “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. Regrettably the Moran Inquiry has failed to include the full suite of correspondence between my solicitors and the Moran Inquiry that addressed all of the issues in dispute.”
In a statement, THG said: “THG wishes to reaffirm that it is satisfied that, at all times, it has acted lawfully in connection with the Rio Olympics, or any Olympics and will make no further comment”.