Friday 21 October 2016

'My situation is Kafkaesque,' says Pat Hickey from his prison cell

Former OCI boss 'wants to stay in Brazil to clear his name'

Cathal McMahon

Published 26/08/2016 | 02:30

Pat Hickey. Photo: Brendan Moran
Pat Hickey. Photo: Brendan Moran
Pat Hickey Photo: PA News

Pat Hickey feels his "dignity and reputation have been thrown away" following his arrest in Brazil in connection with a ticket-touting investigation, his lawyer has claimed.

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Solicitors for the former Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president said Mr Hickey couldn't understand why he had been detained and placed in one of Rio de Janeiro's toughest prisons.

Simone Kamenetz, solicitor to Pat Hickey at her offices in Rio de Janeiro Photo: Steve Humphreys
Simone Kamenetz, solicitor to Pat Hickey at her offices in Rio de Janeiro Photo: Steve Humphreys

Simone Kamenetz also told the Irish Independent that Mr Hickey is willing to stay in Brazil and tackle allegations against him head-on.

The 71-year-old, 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.

Read more: Sonia O'Sullivan claims alleged OCI ticket touting story has been 'sensationalised'

Mr Hickey is being investigated under Brzilian 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."

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

"He is in jail, he's 71, he has a heart condition, he is not well.

"He is trying to cope but he cannot understand this. He keeps saying 'I have done nothing wrong, what is happening here?'

"If you do something and are caught and you go to jail, then you can understand this. He has done nothing wrong so he can't understand this."

Ms Kamenetz said that in spite of this, the former OCI president was being treated well and was not being bullied behind bars.

"The food is OK but he is not eating. He doesn't have an appetite," she said.

Read more: Ross 'concerned' by Hickey treatment as inquiry begins

Ms Kamenetz also confirmed that his legal team will ask a Brazilian court to place him under house arrest in the absence of bail, rather than keep him at the maximum security prison where he is currently held.

The legal firm defending Mr Hickey has also made a fresh request for bail for him, with papers lodged in a Rio court on Wednesday night.

Ms Kamenetz told the Irish Independent that Mr Hickey would not leave the country while the case was ongoing.

She said his legal team had given Mr Hickey's second passport to police so he was no longer a flight risk.

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."

She claimed: "At the moment, Mr Hickey is being held on the grounds that he is a flight risk but this is not the case because the police have his passports. They also say he was held to stop him committing his alleged crime, ticket touting, but the Olympics is over so that cannot be used as justification any longer."

Read more: OCI executive waiting on passport to be returned after being told he is free to go

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

The experienced lawyer is one of the few people to speak with Mr Hickey since his arrest at the Windsor Marapendi Hotel in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, August 17.


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

"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.

Read more: 'You can use them all' - Hickey's deal on tickets with boss of 'touting' firm

He was also asked if he knew Kevin Mallon - the THG director who was arrested after police seized more than 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.

Ms Kamenetz also revealed that Mr Hickey's wife Sylviane had flown home to Dublin recently.

She also urged people to be cautious about rushing to judgment.

Irish Independent

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