Wednesday 26 October 2016

'I will fight this 100pc': Pat Hickey speaks out for first time about arrest

Cathal McMahon In Rio de Janeiro

Published 01/09/2016 | 02:30

Former OCI president Pat Hickey has vowed to fight charges against him "100pc" just 24 hours after his release from prison.

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Mr Hickey, who temporarily stood down as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) following his arrest on August 17, spoke exclusively to on the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

He was released from Bangu Prison in North West Rio on Tuesday and brought to a €2,300 per month flat in Rio's most affluent district, Leblon.

Mr Hickey, who is in a state of "critical health" according to court papers, was seen eating lunch before going for an afternoon stroll around the tree-lined streets with his lawyer.

When approached, the 71-year-old spoke out for the first time since his arrest.

Asked if he intended to fight the allegations against him, Mr Hickey said: "One hundred per cent, that's why you see my lawyer here with me."

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

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."

Probed further on his involvement in the decision to first nominate THG and then Pro10 as the Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) for the OCI, Mr Hickey again referred to his statement on Tuesday.

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

Read more: Former OCI president Pat Hickey breaks his silence after release from Bangu prison

A number of further questions were put to Mr Hickey, to which he responded: "I have no comment apart from my statement yesterday." He declined to say if relatives were travelling to Rio to visit him.

Members of his family met with Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to discuss Mr Hickey's current status.

In a statement, their solicitor said: "Firstly, we would like to thank Minister Charlie Flanagan TD for meeting the Hickey family today.

"The family has been reassured that the minister and the Department of Foreign Affairs are doing everything in their power to provide all necessary consular support to Mr Hickey at this time."

Mr Hickey has been accused under Brazilian law of ticket touting, forming a criminal association/cartel and illicit marketing.

Police in the city are investigating Mr Hickey in connection with alleged ticket touting at the Rio Olympics following the arrest of fellow Irishman Kevin Mallon (36) and the discovery of 823 tickets in Mr Mallon's room.

Mr Mallon's company THG was originally the OCI's first nomination as designated Authorised Ticket Reseller for the OCI for the Olympics but this was refused by the Games organisers.

Pro 10 were subsequently appointed by the OCI - but Brazilian police allege that this company acted as a bridge to get tickets from the OCI to THG.

On Monday, a judge ordered Mr Hickey's release from prison citing his "critical health" and stating there were no grounds for him to be imprisoned.

Pro 10 maintains it has acted properly in its dealings at all times.

Irish Independent

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