Monday 5 December 2016

Olympics chief Pat Hickey 'sharing cell in notorious Brazil prison' with THG executive Kevin Mallon

Cathal McMahon and Brad Haynes

Published 20/08/2016 | 20:08

Bangu Prison where (inset left) Kevin Mallon and (right) Pat Hickey reportedly share a cell
Bangu Prison where (inset left) Kevin Mallon and (right) Pat Hickey reportedly share a cell

Olympics chief Pat Hickey, who was arrested in Brazil this week as part of an investigation into alleged illegal ticket sales, is sharing his cell with Kevin Mallon, an executive from the sports hospitality company implicated in the case.

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According to Reuters, the two men are sharing a cell in the notorious Brazil prison, Bangu.

Prison authorities said that Hickey is getting the same treatment as other inmates at the maximum-security complex, such as a standard haircut and prison fare, along with cell mate Kevin Mallon of hospitality company THG Sports.

Rio's Bangu prison complex, which has more than a dozen separate units in the city's rough western reaches, is notorious for violence and uprisings.

The G1 news website reported last year that inmates in the Bangu 10 part of the complex where Hickey is being held were eating damp toilet paper to kill their hunger.

However, it is likely that Hickey, like other high-profile prisoners held in Bangu, is in one of the safer areas separated from the general prison population. Those units do not have the extreme overcrowding and violence of the others but are bleak nonetheless.

President of the Olympic Council of Ireland Pat Hickey, who has stepped aside from his role temporarily Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire
President of the Olympic Council of Ireland Pat Hickey, who has stepped aside from his role temporarily Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Kevin Mallon (36) was arrested by police in Rio de Janeiro two weeks ago after police uncovered an alleged ticket touting scam in the city.

Police claim that one part of the tickets discovered were allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and the second were set aside for the 'Irish public'.

A view of Bangu Prison in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Patrick Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, is being held. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
A view of Bangu Prison in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Patrick Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, is being held. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Footage featured on Independent.ie, supplied by the Brazilian Civil police fraud department, shows officers opening a safe in Mr Mallon's room at an upmarket hotel in the city.

Inside they discovered a portion of the 813 tickets seized by police. The passes had a face value òf around R$1,400 (€383) but were allegedly being sold for up to $8,000 (€7,070) each.

Kevin James Mallon was arrested in Rio Photo: AFP
Kevin James Mallon was arrested in Rio Photo: AFP

One group reportedly paid $60,000 for ten tickets.

Ricardo Barboza de Souza, head of the Civil Police Fraud Unit, explained how they uncovered the ticket stash.

Patrick Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, leaves the Hospital Samaritano Barra in a wheelchair to a waiting police car in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Patrick Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, leaves the Hospital Samaritano Barra in a wheelchair to a waiting police car in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

“Through this department it came to our attention there was going to be a reception at a hotel. It was going to be a cocktail party where tickets were going to be sold at much higher prices.

“This whole cocktail reception was just a farce. They were making it look like a hospitality event but that was all just a facade.”

The discovery of the tickets led to the arrest of Pat Hickey at a hotel in the city on Wednesday morning.

It was reported earlier that Pat Hickey has had his head shaved and is being treated the same as "any other prisoner" at Brazil's largest jail.

He was moved there in the early hours of Friday morning after being questioned by police for two hours over his alleged involvement in a ticket-touting scam at the Rio Olympics.

The SEAP reported that Mr Hickey, who temporarily stepped down as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OC) after his arrest on Wednesday, will have the right to receive visitors as long as they submit the required registration to enter the prison.

Mr Hickey's wife Sylviane is believed to still be in Rio.

The prison service confirmed to local media Globo News on Friday that Mr Hickey had eaten –  and was given the same meal other inmates were served in the prison.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive will remain at the prison until Tuesday at least as the judiciary is not sitting during the course of the Olympics.

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.

Interview

Barboza de Souza claimed that Mr Hickey was unhelpful when questioned by officers on Thursday: “We spoke to Mr Hickey for two hours," he told Independent.ie

"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 at the Instituto de Criminalista Carlos Eboli in central Rio.

The 71-year-old swapped a €220-a-night superior suite in the Windsor Marapendi for a place in one of the city's most notorious jails.

With a rooftop pool, marble floors and panoramic views of a pristine white beach, his Olympic digs at the Windsor Marapendi were the height of luxury in Rio.

Newly opened last year, the hotel offers "delicious cuisine and superb services" and is the chosen base for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the Games.

It sits on Barra da Tijuca beach, a short journey from the Olympic Park.

But since early on Friday, Hickey has resided behind bars.

Last year, a report by public defenders condemned the "totally subhuman conditions" in the jail, with inmates so hungry they resorted to eating wet toilet paper.

After his arrest at the Windsor Marapendi on Wednesday, Hickey spent the night at a nearby hospital after complaining of feeling unwell. On Thursday, he was transferred to a police station to be questioned by detectives.

A judge denied him habeas corpus and he was transferred to the jail, which is part of the huge Bangu prison complex in Rio's west zone, early on Friday morning.

A court previously ordered Hickey's preventative detention. He can appeal to be freed, or to be placed under house arrest. The latter is thought unlikely, though, as it typically requires the suspect to have a permanent residence and job in Brazil.

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