Sunday 19 January 2020

'Pat Hickey did not try to escape' - Lawyers for former OCI chief dismiss claims their client resisted arrest

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

Cathal McMahon in Rio de Janeiro and Ger Keville

Lawyers for former OCI chief Pat Hickey have dismissed claims that their client resisted arrest when confronted by police in Rio last week.

It was reported in Brazil that Hickey tried to move to an adjacent hotel bedroom when police swooped at the Windsor hotel.

Further to a statement released exclusively to last week, the latest statement issued to RTE from Mr Hickey's lawyers, read: "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.

"He was sleeping already for two days in one of the three rooms that were allocated to him and his family, due to an insomnia, and he did not want to disturb his wife. It would be ridiculous to try to escape and go to the next room, which was officially booked to him.

"Mr Hickey did not resist to the arrest order, and all the rest is unreal story told to make the headlines."

Meanwhile, an Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) executive forced to hand over his passport to police in Rio has claimed he has "nothing to hide".

Chef de Mission for the Olympics Kevin Kilty said he was "absolutely shocked and amazed" at Sunday's raid and also alleged he was being targeted because he was Irish.

Mr Kilty, CEO Stephen Martin and General Secretary Dermot Henihan were forced to reschedule flights home and move hotels yesterday after a judge made an order on Sunday for their passports to be seized.

Their phones, computers and other items were also taken during raids on the OCI offices and accommodation at the Games.

The seizures took place just hours before the curtain came down on the Rio Olympics, which have been mired in controversy from an Irish perspective.

The arrest of Irishman Kevin Mallon on August 5 for allegedly touting tickets began a chain of events that has brought shame on Irish sport.

Warrants were also issued for the seizure of passports belonging to FAI chief executive and OCI vice president John Delaney, acting OCI president Willie O'Brien and personal assistant Linda O'Reilly on Sunday.

Speaking exclusively to the Irish Independent yesterday afternoon, Mr Kilty denied having any knowledge of the alleged ticketing scam and said he had not spoken to former president Pat Hickey since the 71-year-old was arrested last week at the Windsor Marapendi Hotel in the city.

He revealed the raid on Sunday was "as out of the blue for us as it was for anyone else".

"I'm just absolutely shocked and amazed. This is unprecedented, it was the last thing I would ever have expected. We are here to cooperate. We will fully cooperate with the police, we have nothing to hide. We are here to do a job, we have always been here to do a job.

"All I can do is speak honestly and that's what I intend to do."

Both Mr Kilty and Mr Martin arrived in an official Rio Olympics 2016 car at their new hotel yesterday afternoon. They were met by OCI General Secretary Dermot Henihan, who fell ill shortly after police seized his passport on Sunday.

All three were scheduled to fly out of the country yesterday but were forced to change their plans after Sunday's raid.

Speaking shortly after arriving, Mr Kilty denied any involvement in the alleged ticketing scam at the Olympics.

He explained: "I have absolutely no involvement. I have nothing to do with ticketing. Nothing to do with it."

The former international clay pigeon shooter was asked why he was being targeted and he responded: "I'm Irish and I'm out here, I suppose.

"It's the Olympic Council that is being targeted, that's all I can say."

He joked that this was his hotel for the night and he didn't know where he would be staying after his meeting with police. Asked if he was worried about the prospect of going to prison like his colleague Mr Hickey, Mr Kilty answered: "I have no idea, no idea.

"All I can say is I have to find some lawyers and present to the police tomorrow, which is what we'll do."

Asked if he had anything more to add, the Chef de Mission responded: "I can't really say anything more as I don't know anything."

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