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Sunday 26 February 2017

OCI paying €2k for freed Hickey's Rio apartment

Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

Pat Hickey arrives at a residential building in Rio yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Pat Hickey arrives at a residential building in Rio yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Mr Hickey leaving Bangu prison. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Reporter Cathal McMahon with Pat Hickey in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Steve Humphreys

PAT Hickey has been enjoying his new-found freedom in an exclusive neighbourhood in Rio – where the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) is paying for an apartment for him.

The former OCI president, who has stepped down temporarily, was released on Tuesday after 11 nights in prison. Yesterday, the Herald spoke to him near his temporary home.

The OCI, which is partially funded by taxpayers, confirmed that it is footing the bill for Mr Hickey.

“In order to qualify for home arrest bail conditions Mr Hickey has to have an address in Rio,” an OCI spokeswoman said.

Reporter Cathal McMahon with Pat Hickey in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Reporter Cathal McMahon with Pat Hickey in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Steve Humphreys

“The OCI has rented a one-bedroom apartment in Rio for Mr Hickey to use for this purpose. This cost approximately €2,300.”

Mr Hickey was arrested on August 17 on suspicion of illegal ticket touting and was released this week due to health problems with the judge noting his “critical health”.

Mr Hickey leaving Bangu prison. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Mr Hickey leaving Bangu prison. Photo: Steve Humphreys

He has been ordered to remain in Brazil and the authorities there will keep his passport. Mr Hickey said he will be concentrating on his health as he challenges the accusations in Brazil.

When asked if he had any comment to make on the accusations against him, he responded: “You got my statement. It’s clear, I have health problems I am attending to.”

Asked about his involvement in the decision to first nominate THG and then Pro10 as the Authorised Ticket Re-seller (ATR) for the OCI, Mr Hickey referred to a previous statement in which he said he was going to fight the charges.

The statement also thanked authorities for kindness they showed him while he spent time in jail.

“You got my statement yesterday, I am now going to take care of my health,” he said.

Mr Hickey, who is in a state of “critical health” according to court papers, had lunch before going for an afternoon stroll with his lawyer in the upmarket neighbourhood.

His stroll around the city came as his family in Ireland met Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan, whom they have asked to intervene in the case.

After the meeting they said they were “reassured” that all necessary consular assistance was being provided to the ex-athlete.

Herald

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