Thursday 29 September 2016

'He told her she must go home' - Lawyer claims Pat Hickey begged wife to return to Ireland

* Exclusive interview with Independent.ie
* Lawyer says Hickey feels 'indignity'
* Hickey 'does not have appetite' in jail
* Lawyer wants to dispel certain allegations

Cathal McMahon in Rio de Janeiro

Published 25/08/2016 | 07:14

Lawyer Simone Kamenetz (left) and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Pat Hickey and his wife Sylviane (right)
Lawyer Simone Kamenetz (left) and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Pat Hickey and his wife Sylviane (right)

Former OCI President Pat Hickey told his wife to return to Ireland while he fights ticket touting allegations from behind bars.

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In an exclusive interview with Independent.ie Mr Hickey's lawyer said the 71-year-old feels 'indignity, anger and sadness' at his arrest last week and subsequent detention.

Simone Kamenetz also revealed how Mr Hickey's wife Sylviane flew home to Dublin after he begged her to leave.

"She didn't want to go but he told her she must go home.

"She would have to wait 30 days before she can meet him in prison so he told her to go."

Sitting in her office in central Rio de Janeiro Ms Kamenetz spoke frankly about the case which has rocked Ireland and Brazil.

Pat Hickey's lawyer Simone Kamenetz, Steve Humphreys pic
Pat Hickey's lawyer Simone Kamenetz, Steve Humphreys pic

The experienced lawyer is one of the only people to speak with Mr Hickey since his arrest at the Windsor Marapendi Hotel in Rio de Janeiro last Wednesday.

Mr Hickey, who has temporarily stood down as OCI president, has been detained at Gericino penitentiary - known locally as Bangu prison - in West Rio since last Friday.

He has been formally accused under Brazilian law of ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing.

Ms Kamenetz explained: “He is someone with a big reputation that has been working so far very well in a position who has had his reputation and dignity thrown away. He is already judged, he is in the prison.”

Pat Hickey and his wife Sylviana with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2014
Pat Hickey and his wife Sylviana with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2014

She went on to say that Mr Hickey described his situation as 'Kafkian'.

Ms Kamenetz said the former OCI president is being treated well and not being bullied behind bars.

"The food is okay but he is not eating. He doesn't have an appetite."

Ms Kamenetz said she wanted to speak to Independent.ie to dispel many of the allegations made by police officers.

Pat Hickey speaks to Brazilian police at the Windsor Hotel in Rio
Pat Hickey speaks to Brazilian police at the Windsor Hotel in Rio

"I read that the police say he was evasive in his interviews. He was quite eager to explain everything. He was advancing information that was not being requested."

The lawyer, who was present during Mr Hickey's deposition, said Mr Hickey was not required to speak to police but did so because he wanted to clarify the situation.

Mr Hickey was asked if he knew Marcus Evans, the owner of THG ticket sales, and he confirmed that he did. He was also asked if he knew Kevin Mallon - the THG director who was arrested after police seized over 800 tickets for the Olympics in his Rio hotel room. Many of these tickets had been allocated to the OCI.

The solicitor explained that Mr Hickey told police he had never met this man.

She also repeated that Mr Hickey did not attempt to hide from police when they arrived at his hotel.

The entrance to Bangu prison, where Pat Hickey is being held. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The entrance to Bangu prison, where Pat Hickey is being held. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Ms Kamenetz confirmed that Mr Hickey has a second passport that was not seized during his initial arrest. However this was subsequently handed over by his wife Sylviane to OCI Honorary General Secretary Dermot Henihan who then passed it on to the solicitor.

"We have given this to police. They did not ask for this when Mr Hickey was arrested."

Ms Kamenetz said there is no question of her client leaving the country while the case is ongoing.

She claimed authorities are continuing to hold him because he is a foreigner and poses a flight risk.

"We are going to try to get him out. If he gets bail he will stay in Rio de Janeiro during this procedure. We believe that if the prosecution offer indictment we believe that a judge will not accept this. If the judge accepts the indictment then we will appeal."

On Tuesday police released emails between Mr Hickey and Mr Evans. THG were refused the right to act as the OCI's ATR at the Olympics by organisers.

Officers said the two men were in contact over ticket allocations for key events at the Olympics.

Mr Hickey allegedly wrote on August 3: “We have tickets left that Pro 10 don't want so before we get rid of them have you any use for them.”

According to police evidence Mr Evans responded: "I am afraid I have more that I need as well so all we can do is put back on the portal for hopeful resell."

Mr Hickey then replied: “Thank you. I can confirm to you now that I do not require any of the opening or the closing ceremony tickets that was part of our NOC allocation. You can use them all."

Ms Kamenetz said she had not seen these emails as she had not been granted access to them.

"We ask the police for this information but they say it has gone for analysis. I don't have access to these mails so I could not possibly comment."

However she urged readers to be cautious about running to judgement in the absence of all the evidence.

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