Rio de Janeiro

Pat Hickey could get his passport back today - paving the way for a return to Ireland

Hickey was arrested last August in Brazil.

PAT HICKEY’S LEGAL team in Rio de Janeiro say the former OCI president could be given his passport back today, allowing him to return to Ireland in the coming days.

Hickey was arrested last August on charges of ticket-touting, formation of a cartel, and illicit marketing, and has since temporarily stepped down as head of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI).

Hickey had denied any wrongdoing and all charges against him.

Senior Counsel Arthur Lavigne said yesterday afternoon in Rio that the amount of 1.5 million Brazilian reals has been lodged with the courts in Rio de Janeiro.

Now, they must wait for the judge to officially acknowledge receipt of the “loan” paid by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in order to liberate Hickey’s return to Ireland for medical treatment.

Once the court confirms the lodgement, an official announcement must be made, to allow for the physical passport to be returned to Hickey. Lavigne expects that this may happen as soon as today.

Yesterday was Justice Day in Brazil, a holiday for the courts, so confirmation of the payment, which Hickey’s legal team said that day was made “either yesterday or today”, was not available.

Lavigne was unable to confirm when his client is likely to make the return trip to Ireland, after having spent more than three months in Brazil.

Meanwhile, Franklin Gomes, solicitor for Kevin Mallon, the other Irish man arrested in Rio during the Olympic Games, is working to reduce the bond amount required by the court, to liberate the THG Sports executive’s passport.

Currently, payment of 1.5 million Brazilian reals is required by the court before Kevin Mallon’s passport may be returned. Gomes flew to Rio on Wednesday, from his base in Sao Paulo, to speak to the judge responsible for the ticketing case. However, he was unavailable for comment afterwards.

The public prosecutor responsible for the ticketing case said yesterday that the legal case involving the two Irish men could begin as soon as next month. Marcus Kac said yesterday afternoon that the setting of a future court date “depends on the courts, and on the judge”.

He said once started, it could take anything up to a year for the case to reach completion, and noted that Pat Hickey’s medical condition could mean that the case begins without his physical presence in Brazil.

Heart surgery

Last week, Hickey’s lawyers said he has scheduled heart surgery in Ireland upon his return.

Judge Juliano Leal de Melo of the Special Court for Supporters and Large Events in Rio, which had jurisdiction during the Olympic Games, ordered that Pat Hickey returns to Rio as required by the legal system, when setting his bond conditions.

However, prosecutor Kac said yesterday afternoon that it was possible that the case could start without his presence in Brazil, if he is post-surgery and unable to travel.

The case will continue either way. It will not be held up by the fact that he has surgery or not.

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Read: Pat Hickey set to return to Ireland as bond money for passport is received>

Sarah O'Sullivan