Friday 9 December 2016

Hickey is 'evasive' as police begin questioning on touting

Cathal McMahon Rio de Janeiro

Published 20/08/2016 | 02:30

Pat Hickey was claimed to have been "evasive" when police tried to interview him about his alleged involvement in ticket touting fraud at the Rio Olympics.

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The senior officer investigating the case has told the Irish Independent that they spoke with the 71-year-old for two hours at a police station in central Rio de Janeiro on Thursday night.

However, he said that Mr Hickey refused to answer a number of questions and also made no confessions during the interview.

Ricardo Barboza de Souza, head of the Civil Police Fraud Unit, explained: "We spoke to Mr Hickey for two hours. He was very evasive in his answers.

"He wasn't really saying anything much. He didn't say anything that led to anything.

"He was basically seeking his lawyer's help.

"Questioning didn't bring out anything conclusive. He made no confession."

It is understood that Mr Hickey's lawyer was present throughout police interviews.

Mr Hickey, who temporarily stood down as President of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) after his arrest on Wednesday, was taken yesterday to Brazil's largest prison.

José Frederico Marques Public jail, known locally as Bangu 10, is a committal prison.It is the general entry point for all inmates entering Gericinó Penitentiary Complex (Bangu).

A prison worker explained that Mr Hickey will be processed at the facility for some time.

Investigation

As Thursday was a national holiday and the Olympics are still underway in Rio, there may be some delay in moving him into another unit within the Bangu complex.

Fellow Irishman Kevin Mallon (36), who is being held as part of the same investigation, is currently housed nearby at the Bangu 8 prison. Commissioner Barboza confirmed that Mr Hickey will remain in Bangu over the weekend and the earliest he can expect a judicial hearing would be Tuesday.

Due to the ongoing Olympics the judiciary is not currently sitting and is not due to return before Tuesday.

Read more: Retired judge will investigate alleged Olympics ticket scandal - Shane Ross

Mr Hickey had sought habeus corpus bail appeal on the grounds that his detention was unlawful. However, this was rejected by a Brazilian state court on Thursday.

Commissioner Barboza's team arrested Mr Hickey at a room in the Hotel Windsor Marapendi, na Barra da Tijuca at 6am on Wednesday.

The 71-year-old explained that he had a heart condition and as a result was brought to the private Hospital Samaritano instead of a police station.

He remained there for over a day but was finally moved shortly before 3.30pm on Thursday to Instituto de Criminalista Carlos Eboli, in the centre of the Brazilian city.

Pleaded

Commissioner Barboza explained that Mr Hickey had pleaded with police for him to remain in the hospital citing an ongoing medical condition.

The Commissioner said: "He wanted to stay in hospital a bit longer but they released him and said he was fine."

A spokesperson for the OCI said yesterday evening that it would be making no further statement on Pat Hickey.

"The Board has no further comment on the charges against Mr Hickey who is receiving his own legal advice and is entitled to natural justice and due process."

Irish Independent

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