rio olympics

Ticketing scandal: Brazilian police seize passports of senior Irish Olympic delegation staff

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 6:39am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 7:23am

Brazil police confirmed on Sunday they had seized the passports of three members of the Olympic Council of Ireland – Kevin Kilty, Dermot Henihan and Stephen Martin – as part of an investigation into illegal ticket sales at the Rio Olympics.

In a separate statement, a Brazilian judge said an order had also been issued to seize the passports of OCI interim president Willie O’Brien, personal assistant to the presidency Linda O’Reilly, and OCI vice-president John Delaney.

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The expansion of the investigation came as IOC executive Patrick Hickey, the Olympic Council of Ireland president, remained in jail following his arrest on Wednesday.

Brazilian police arrest Irish IOC executive Patrick Hickey in ticketing probe

No further arrests were made Sunday but the OCI said additional members of its delegation have been “asked to present for questioning at a local police station on Tuesday. They agreed to do so”.

The OCI’s Dublin-based public relations agency said three Irish personnel had passports, phones and laptops confiscated.

“Early this morning in Rio, Brazilian police arrived at the OCI offices in the Olympic Village and at OCI accommodation outside of the village,” an OCI spokesman said.

Unused official games tickets were also taken from the Irish office in the Athletes’ Village, according to the OCI which said were for athletes’ families and friends.

“We are continuing the investigation into the international scheme of ticket scalping,” Rio police said. “Agents are conducting investigations since this morning which will continue until Tuesday.”

The investigation has been unfolding through the Olympics, with the first arrests made two weeks ago.

The highest-profile figure swept up by investigators is Hickey, the head of the umbrella organisation for Europe’s Olympic bodies.

Hickey was due to spend the closing ceremony of the Olympics on Sunday in Rio’s Bangu prison complex after his lawyers failed to secure his release on bail.

“Mr Hickey has been arrested due to suppositions that are not supported by any material evidence or proof of the alleged facts presented by the police,” Hickey’s lawyer, Arthur Lavigne, said in a statement.

“His arrest has no legal support. The investigation did not bring one single slight indication that Mr Hickey could be involved with the facts therein investigated, and his detention was required by the police authority under mere assumptions.”

Reporting by Reuters and Associated Press