Sunday 25 September 2016

Brazil judge issues warrant for passports of John Delaney and five other OCI officials

*Police raid OCI Rio offices
*Passports, laptops, tickets seized
*Pat Hickey court date set
*Warrant for six passports

Cathal McMahon in Rio de Janeiro and Shane Phelan

Published 21/08/2016 | 16:04

John Delaney, Pat Hickey and Emma English ahead of the Euro 2016 match between Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
John Delaney, Pat Hickey and Emma English ahead of the Euro 2016 match between Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

A Brazilian judge has issued a warrant for the passport of FAI chief executive and Olympic Council of Ireland vice-president John Delaney.

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The authorisation was made as part of the investigation into alleged ticket touting at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Judge Leticia D'Aiuto de Moraes Ferreira Michelli has also authorised the seizure of phones, documents and laptops.

Mr Delaney is one of six people listed on the warrant, alongside acting OCI president William O’Brien and OCI officials Linda O’Reilly, Dermot Henihan, Kevin Kilty and Stephen Martin. Linda O'Reilly is Pat Hickey's personal assistant and has been involved in OCI since 1992.

Police outside the Hotel Windsor Marapendi Hotel in Rio de Janeiro where Pat Hickey's wife Sylviane remains during his stay in prison. Pic Steve Humphreys
Police outside the Hotel Windsor Marapendi Hotel in Rio de Janeiro where Pat Hickey's wife Sylviane remains during his stay in prison. Pic Steve Humphreys

The latter three had their passports seized by police in an operation on Sunday morning, a police source said.

The magistrate considered the foreign nationality of the accused and the possibility that after the closing of the Rio games in 2016, they may leave the country.

Controversey: Pat Hickey is escorted by police in a wheelchair at the Hospital Samaritano in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Controversey: Pat Hickey is escorted by police in a wheelchair at the Hospital Samaritano in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Judge Leticia D'Aiuto de Moraes Ferreira ordered the search and seizure of tickets, media, laptops, USB drives and computers in the rooms of the executives at the Windsor Hotel and the Olympic Village.

According to court documents the material will be used to establish the facts surrounding alleged ticket touting.

The operation followed the arrest of the OCI's President Patrick Hickey on Wednesday as part of the case.

Hickey has stepped aside from all Olympic roles until the investigation is concluded.

Long reign: Pat Hickey has been president of the OCI for 28 years. Photo: Sportsfile
Long reign: Pat Hickey has been president of the OCI for 28 years. Photo: Sportsfile

The Olympic Council of Ireland since released a statement on the incident, which reads:

"Early this morning in Rio, Brazilian police arrived at the OCI offices in the Olympic village and at OCI accommodation outside of the village.

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

"They were met by OCI personnel. No arrests were made.

"The police took possession of their passports along with their phones and laptops.

"The OCI personnel were asked to present for questioning at a local police station on Tuesday (August 23) next. They agreed to do so.

"The OCI had an allocation of unused official tickets in their offices which had been made available for athletes’ families and friends. The police also took possession of these tickets."

Raid

Ricardo Barboza De Souza, Head of the Civil Police Fraud Unit in Rio de Janeiro, refused to reveal details of the search but confirmed to Independent.ie that "police action" had taken place on Sunday morning.

He added: "We are not revealing any details of this at this time. There will be a press conference on Tuesday."

Commissioner Barboza, whose team arrested former OCI President Pat Hickey on Wednesday, confirmed that there were no arrests made today.

Court

President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach has confirmed that Pat Hickey will appear in court on Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of an IOC executive meeting in Rio at the end of the Olympic Games Mr Bach told reporters: “Mr Hickey will have his first hearing by a judge next Tuesday."

Meanwhile, Pat Hickey's solicitor has released a statement saying he is being held in a notorious Brazilian jail due to "suppositions that are not supported by any material evidence or proof".

In a statement, released to Independent.ie, Rio-based lawyer Arthur Lavigne said Mr Hickey was arrested "under mere assumptions" and claimed the police probe “has no legal support”.

Mr Hickey, who has temporarily stood down as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, was arrested at his hotel early on Wednesday morning, by police from the Rio Police fraud unit.

He is facing three charges of facilitating ticket touting, formation of a cartel and ambush or illicit marketing.

Brazilian police claim he and others were behind the large-scale touting of tickets for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The 71-year-old is currently in custody at Brazil's largest prison Bangu, on the outskirts of the city that is playing host to the 2016 'Games.

Police said he was 'evasive' in interviews and no formal response has been given to the media before today.

In a statement, given to Independent.ie, Mr Lavigne wrote: "Mr Hickey has been arrested due to suppositions that are not supported by any material evidence or proof of the alleged facts presented by the police. His arrest has no legal support.

"The investigation did not bring one single slight indication that Mr Hickey could be involved with the facts therein investigated, and his detention was required by the police authority under mere assumptions."

Mr Hickey was previously represented by the OCI and a series of statements were released by the body in the immediate aftermath of his arrest.

But on Friday evening the OCI confirmed that Mr Hickey was “receiving his own legal advice”. They went on to say that he is “entitled to natural justice and due process”.

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