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Saturday 25 February 2017

Hickey faces €410,000 bail bill as OCI rules out helping

Shane Phelan and Luke Byrne

Former OCI president Pat Hickey remains in Brazil Picture: Sportsfile
Former OCI president Pat Hickey remains in Brazil Picture: Sportsfile

Former Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president Pat Hickey is facing the prospect of having to personally raise a €410,000 bail bond after the organisation ruled out paying it for him.

The return of the 71-year-old sports administrator's passport by Brazilian authorities is conditional on the bond being paid.

A judge in Rio de Janeiro ruled on Wednesday that Mr Hickey could return to Ireland for "health treatment", once the payment of bail is certified by the court. The court ordered he make himself available for trial if one proceeds.

However, an OCI spokesperson said the council would not be stumping up the cash.It has been paying for the Rio apartment Mr Hickey has been living in since his release from prison on August 31.

The high-profile position that Mr Hickey held for 28 years before temporarily stepping aside was unpaid, and accounts for his auctioneering and insurance companies do not indicate significant reserves.

He and his wife Sylviane shared €59,000 in pay and pension contributions from the auctioneering firm in 2015, while no payments to them were recorded in the accounts of the insurance firm last year.

However, Mr Hickey is thought to have property investments worth around €1.5m.

Mr Hickey and fellow Dubliner Kevin Mallon, an executive with corporate hospitality firm THG Sports, are facing charges of ticket-touting, illicit marketing and money laundering.

Both have denied the accusations, which relate to the alleged sale and marketing of tickets for the Rio Olympics.

Judge Juliana Leal de Melo agreed that Mr Hickey's passport could be returned after his lawyers said he was suffering from a heart condition which needs treatment.

Efforts

But efforts by Mr Mallon's legal team to secure the return of his passport have so far been unsuccessful.

A friend of Mr Hickey yesterday welcomed the judge's decision. Jack & Jill Foundation founder Jonathan Irwin said more should have been done by the Government to help Mr Hickey.

"This is a man of some ability, and the country's leading sports administrator. I really feel he shouldn't have been abandoned in the manner he was," Mr Irwin told the Irish Independent.

Sports Minister Shane Ross, who has set up an inquiry into the ticket controversy, said he did not know if consular assistance had been sought by Mr Hickey.

"Ever since we set up the inquiry we've kept hands off from that," he said.

Separately a court in Rio de Janeiro ruled that charges against Pro 10 director Eamonn Collins be removed from the judicial process involving Mr Hickey, Mr Mallon and Barbara Carnieri. All three were arrested in Rio during the Olympic Games in August.

It is thought that Ms Carnieri, a Brazilian national, is no longer in Brazil.

Irish Independent

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