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Wednesday 16 January 2019

Exclusive: 'He will not be alive to see the end of this case' - Lawyer for Pat Hickey says he needs heart procedure

Former OCI chief Pat Hickey. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Former OCI chief Pat Hickey. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Cathal McMahon

A lawyer for former Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) chief Pat Hickey has revealed that he needs to undergo a "delicate heart procedure".

The 71-year-old's solicitor Simone Kamenetz has told that he is "sick". She added that if Mr Hickey is not allowed to return to Ireland then he will not live long enough to see the end of the case.

Mr Hickey, who stood down as President of the OCI following his arrest on August 17 during the Rio Olympics, has been forced to remain in Brazil where he is facing ticket touting charges.

He and THG director Kevin Mallon are facing charges of ticket-touting, illicit marketing and money-laundering in Brazil. Both deny all allegations made against them in relation to ticketing at the event.

Pat Hickey's lawyer Simone Kamenetz, Steve Humphreys pic
Pat Hickey's lawyer Simone Kamenetz, Steve Humphreys pic

Earlier this month Mr Hickey's legal team applied to the courts to have his passport returned.

Now Ms Kamenetz has revealed that there are humanitarian reasons for this request: "I can tell you that Mr Hickey is sick.

"He suffers from atrial fibrillation, and the cardiologist who saw him already twice, Dr Claudio Domenico, a well known and reputable physician, established that Mr Hickey's situation is preoccupying.

She explained: "Mr Hickey must undergo a delicate heart procedure and he should be allowed to do it with his doctors that have been following his health conditions already for years, with his family alongside with him.

"This is a humanitarian issue. Mr Hickey will not hide from the Brazilian justice, mostly because it is his desire to be totally cleared of all accusations. But if he is obliged to stay here for years, he will not be alive to see the end of this case."

Ms Kamenetz explained that the procedure is to revert the atrial fibrillation. "We applied for the authorisation for him to face the procedure from Ireland."

On Thursday night the board of the OCI met to discuss a report carried out into its governance. The Deloitte review was ordered in September and a draft report was given to the board this week.

In a statement following the meeting the OCI  said: "The draft Deloitte report into governance arrangements under the OCI’s current constitution, which was circulated to committee members for the first time this evening, will over the coming days be reviewed by committee members for factual accuracies. Deloitte will then finalise its report and the report will be published soon after. "

A separate independent Grant Thornton report into ticketing arrangements in Rio is ongoing and the spokesperson said that once complete it will be sealed and passed directly to Judge Carroll Moran to consider as part of his non statutory inquiry.  "At no point has the OCI Executive Committee had sight of the report.  It is expected that the completed report will be with Judge Moran by 15 November."

Earlier this week FAI chief John Delaney resigned from his position on the board of the OCI.

In a statement, he again insisted that he had no role or involvement in any ticketing arrangements for Rio. Sources said Mr Delaney will co-operate with any of the ongoing inquiries but will not attend any more board meetings.

Former OCI Chef de Mission Kevin Kilty, who was also interviewed by police as part of the same probe, also resigned from the OCI board this week.

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