Tuesday 25 October 2016

'I'm a target for Brazilian police just because i'm Irish', says Kilty

Chef de Mission Kevin Kilty arrives at a hotel in Rio after his passport was seized by police in
Rio de Janeiro Picture: Steve Humphreys
Chef de Mission Kevin Kilty arrives at a hotel in Rio after his passport was seized by police in Rio de Janeiro Picture: Steve Humphreys

An Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) executive has claimed that he has been targeted by police in Rio because he is Irish.

Chef de Mission Kevin Kilty is one of three men who have been forced to remain in Rio after their passports were seized by police investigating the all- eged illegal sale of tickets for the Games.

His colleagues, OCI chief executive Stephen Martin and honorary general secretary Dermot Henihan, are still in Brazil and moved to a new hotel yesterday.

Their phones, computers and other items were taken during raids on the OCI offices and accommodation at the Games on Sunday.

In his only interview since the court order confiscating his passport, Mr Kilty denied having any knowledge of the alleged ticketing scam.


"I'm Irish and I'm out here, I suppose," Mr Kilty said when asked why he was being targeted by police.

"It's the Olympic Council that's being targeted, that's all I can say."

He also said he had not spoken to OCI president Pat Hickey since the 71-year-old was arrested last week. Mr Kilty said the police raid on Sunday was "as out of the blue for us as it was for anyone else".

"I'm just absolutely shocked and amazed by this," he said.

"This is unprecedented, it was the last thing I would ever have expected. We're here to co-operate. We will fully co-operate with the police, we have nothing to hide. We're here to do a job, we have always been here to do a job.

"All I can do is speak honestly and that's what I intend to do. I have absolutely no involvement in this," he added.

"I have nothing to do with ticketing. Nothing to do with it."

When asked if he was worried about being locked up like Mr Hickey, Mr Kilty said: "I have no idea, no idea.

"All I can say is I have to find some lawyers and present to the police tomorrow, which is what we'll do."

Asked if he had anything more to add, he responded: "I can't really say anything more as I don't know anything."

Mr Kilty and Mr Martin were taken to their new hotel in an official Rio Olympics 2016 car. There they met Mr Henihan who fell ill shortly after police seized his passport.

Warrants have also been iss-ued for the seizure of passports belonging to FAI chief executive and OCI vice-president John Delaney, acting OCI president Willie O'Brien and Mr Hickey's personal assistant Linda O'Reilly.

The new court orders were signed only days after Mr Hickey was detained at his hotel in the Barra da Tijuca area of Rio last Wednesday.

He was later taken to the Samaritano Hospital with chest pains, and underwent cardiac testing. After being discharged, he was taken to a police station for questioning in connection with the investigation.


He has been formally accused under Brazilian law of ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing. The charges carry a maximum of seven years in jail on conviction.

It was initially believed that Mr Hickey would appear in court in Rio for the first time today, but sources were unable to confirm this last night.

Today will be the first day of court sittings in Rio after the Games finished and they are expected to be very busy.

Mr Hickey is currently sharing a prison cell with another Irishman who has also been accused of involvement in touting.

Dubliner Kevin Mallon (36), a director of THG Sports, which specialises in corporate and sports hospitality and is owned by Ipswich Town FC owner Marcus Evans, has been in custody in Brazil since August 5 in relation to the investigation.

The pair are locked up in the notorious Bangu prison.

Meanwhile, a Brazilian football legend and World Cup winner has backed the investigation into Mr Hickey.

Former Barcelona star Romario said he alerted the Brazilian government to the "activities of the ticket Mafia".

The footballing legend, who is now a Socialist senator in Brazil, said: "I told them it was my belief that they would also act during Rio 2016. I am satisfied with the police action that has taken place."

A Brazilian police chief previously revealed that the footballer played a key role in the investigation.

"Romario is now a very important politician here. He tipped us off in 2012," said Ricardo Barboza de Souza, head of the Civil Police Fraud Unit in Rio. He already denounced Pat Hickey and said there is something going on here.

"That was a very big factor. In the parliament he made it public. He said it there in front of everyone about Pat Hickey."

Last night, Romario said he had no further comment to make on the investigation.

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