Sunday 25 August 2019

Hickey's return home 'imminent' after bail of €410,000 lodged

Pat Hickey Photo: Steve Humphreys
Pat Hickey Photo: Steve Humphreys

Matt Sandy

The lawyer of former OCI President Patrick Hickey believes he will be home in Ireland imminently after lodging his €410,000 bail with Brazilian authorities.

But last night there was no confirmation of the payment from court authorities, meaning Hickey's passport has not yet been returned to him.

There was also no sign of Hickey yesterday at Rio de Janeiro's international airport.

His lawyer, Arthur Lavigne, said he believed the relevant authorisation for Hickey to leave Brazil would come in the coming days.

Hickey (71) is being allowed to leave for medical reasons and will undergo scheduled heart surgery on his return to Ireland.

Hickey secured the 1.5 million Brazilian reals (€410,000) required as a security payment via a loan from the Association of National Olympic Committees.

He is accused of being at the heart of an international touting ring in Olympic tickets issued to the OCI - a charge he strongly denies.

Hickey was arrested at his five-star hotel in Rio during the Olympic Games in August.

Charges have been accepted against Hickey, and another Irish man, Kevin James Mallon, a 36-year-old executive of the firm at the centre of the scandal, THG Sports.

Mallon remains in Brazil but his legal representative, Franklin Gomez, is looking to reduce the bond bail amount.

Eight others, including four other Irishmen, are also charged.

Prosecutors have accused the ten of, variously, ticket touting, forming a criminal cartel, illicit marketing, embezzlement, tax evasion and money laundering.

Clients of THG Sports were sold tickets worth €380 for up to €7,000 under the 'cover' of a hospitality package, police said.

Only authorised firms can resell tickets.

Those who facilitate ticket touting in Brazil can face up to four years in jail.

Mallon was arrested with 823 tickets, most of them marked as originating from Irish Olympic authorities, while hosting a drinks party for clients, one of whom had paid $206,000 (€195,000) for hospitality packages, on the day of the Opening Ceremony.

That started a cascade of revelations that led to the dawn arrest of Olympic Council of Ireland president Hickey in the luxury Hotel Windsor Marapendi on August 17.

Police said he was found in a separate suite from his wife, who told them her husband was already in Ireland.

After their arrests, Hickey and Mallon were detained at the notorious Bangu prison complex in Rio.

The prison is home to some of Rio's most dangerous criminals, and inmates are said to be so hungry they sometimes eat wet toilet paper.

The pair were later released but ordered to report to a special Olympic court on the 20th day of every month.

They were also ordered to remain at an address in Rio after 10pm.

Irish Independent

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