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Arrest warrants issued as THG Sports accused of Olympic ticket touting

Brazilian judge orders arrest of four executives at THG Sports over alleged ticket touting

Pictured: THG Sports

A Brazilian judge has ordered the arrest of four executives at THG Sports over alleged ticket touting.

The ticketing firm - the corporate hospitality arm of conference organiser Marcus Evans - was accused last week of fraudulent ticket sales at the Olympics and has strongly denied the charges, criticising Rio 2016 organisers.

Brazilian police detained the Dublin-based THG Sports finance director Kevin Mallon last week and seized almost 1,000 tickets from a supply belonging to the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI). Police said that THG Sports could have made around 10 million reais (£2.4m) from buying tickets and reselling them at a higher price.

Pro10 Sports Management is the authorised ticket reseller (ATR) for the OCI at Rio 2016, taking over from THG Sports, which fulfilled the role at London 2012 and Sochi 2014.

Pro10 Sports said last week it had given Mallon the tickets to distribute it to its clients and that Mallon was not selling them for above market level. 

Police said arrest warrants had been issued as "all directors had knowledge of, and contributed to a scheme that involved the illegal selling of tickets at prices well above face value, under the camouflage of hospitality packages".

In a statement, THG Sports said: "We are extremely concerned by these charges. We have made absolutely clear that the allegations made against our colleague, Kevin Mallon, and ourselves are entirely without foundation. 

"Pro 10, the Irish authorised ticket reseller, have also made it absolutely clear that the tickets held by Kevin were on behalf of the Irish ATR and were held for collection by Pro 10 clients in Rio. 

"Having tickets on the ground for collection is standard practice for an ATR during Games time.

"As has been reiterated on several occasions, including to Rocog, the Irish Olympic Committee, Irish government officials and to the Irish public and media, at no time did Kevin Mallon sell or seek to sell tickets for the Rio Olympic Games. 

"The tickets that he held were authorised tickets held on behalf of clients of the authorised ticket reseller and he was acting as the collection point for the authorised ticket resellers’ customers. 

"It is our understanding that all of these tickets are sold by the ATR at face value plus the mark ups allowed under the agreements with ROCOG (The Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Rio 2016)."

THG accused organisers in Rio of spreading misinformation.

It said: “It appears that they and the local authorities have an agenda to impede the legitimate activities of THG in order to support the activities of their locally approved hospitality provider.”

Pro 10 Sports also said that it had suffered losses due to the seized tickets.

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