Olympic ticket scandal: Judge to rule on OCI passports

Stephen Martin
Image caption Police said Stephen Martin had assisted them as an important witness

A Rio judge is to decide whether to return the passports of two Irish Olympic officials during an investigation into illegal ticketing.

Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) chief Stephen Martin and Kevin Kilty spoke to police for four hours on Thursday.

A chief investigator said the men had confirmed arrested Pat Hickey was responsible for ticket operations, the Associated Press reported.

The former OCI President is being held over alleged illegal ticket sales.

"They cooperated with us in confirming the role of Patrick Hickey as the one who handled ticket operations," said investigator Ronaldo Oliveira.

"All of the actions were decided by him."

Timeline: Olympic ticket-sale scandal

Mr Hickey has previously denied any impropriety over ticketing, and no charges have been brought, but he has stepped down from all his posts temporarily.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Former OCI president Pat Hickey was arrested in connection with alleged illegal ticket sales

He was head of the European Olympic body and also sat on the executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Mr Hickey is being held alongside THG director Kevin Mallon at Rio's maximum security Bangu 10 prison.

Mr Martin, from Bangor, County Down, and Mr Kilty had their passports, laptops and mobile phones seized on Sunday.

But police said late on Thursday the men had never been anything other than of assistance to them as important witnesses.

As they left police headquarters dressed in Ireland's team tracksuits, Mr Kilty told reporters: "We are very happy to have cooperated."

A judge will now issue an official decision on whether or not to return Mr Martin and Mr Kilty's passports.

Who's who in Irish Olympic tickets controversy?

  • Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) - The state-funded body responsible for selecting, training and preparing Irish athletes to take part in the summer and winter Olympics
  • International Olympic Committee (IOC) - The leading organiser of the Olympic games and the highest authority in the Olympic movement
  • Pat Hickey - The president of the Olympic Council of Ireland
  • THG Sports - A corporate and sports hospitality company based in London
  • Pro 10 Management - An Irish sports management company that was appointed by the OCI as its authorised ticket reseller in Ireland
  • Shane Ross - The Irish sports minister

Dermot Henihan, the OCI's secretary general, also had his passport seized. Mr Henihan spoke to police in Rio on Tuesday and was subsequently told his passport would be returned.

Mr Hickey's legal team made a second application for bail on Thursday.

It is understood his lawyers will ask the court to place him under house arrest, instead of in the maximum security prison where he is being held.

On Wednesday, the Irish government published the terms of reference for a state inquiry into the controversy and appointed retired judge Carroll Moran to lead the investigation.

Mr Martin, an Olympian gold medal-winning hockey player, was previously a director of coaching at Ulster Hockey.

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