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way back home

Pat Hickey is finally on his way back to Ireland

The former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland had been detained in Rio de Janeiro for the past four months.

Rio Olympics 2016 Pat Hickey Yui Mok Yui Mok

PAT HICKEY IS on his way home to Ireland, after four months in Brazil, after his dawn arrest at his hotel in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games, on allegations including ticket touting, ambush marketing, and money laundering.

The former OCI President, who has resided in beachside Leblon on the south side of Rio de Janeiro since his release from Bangu maximum security prison, went through the security gates of Rio’s international airport at 10.15pm Irish time. The 71-year-old, who was granted permission to return to Ireland in order that he receive medical attention, was flanked by his wife as he entered the airport last night.

His legal team said he has already booked heart surgery in Ireland.

Hickey said he had “no comment” to make, as he entered through security. He did not have to go through any check-in process personally at the airport, but instead went straight through the security gates.

A bond amount was paid to the local courts by the Association of National Committees (ANOC) as a loan, to remove Hickey’s travel ban, which was one of the conditions of his release from prison.

It is likely that Hickey will arrive in Dublin today. He first came to Brazil more than four months ago, on a British Airways flight, and it was likely he would travel on the 11pm service from Rio overnight, landing in London Heathrow today at 12.10pm.

Hickey was obliged by the Special Court for Supporters and Large Events in Rio, which had jurisdiction during the Olympic Games while the regular courts were in recess, to sign a document promising to fully cooperate with all aspects of the ongoing legal process in Brazil, and to return to Brazil as required during that process.

Public prosecutor responsible for the case Marcus Kac said the legal case could begin as soon as next month, and may go on for as long as a year. He said that the court had discretion to allow for the case to begin, should Hickey be unable to travel.

In his decision published last Monday in Rio, Judge Marcello Rubioli ordered that Hickey maintain representation in Brazil to receive all intimations of the courts.

Hickey denies any wrongdoing.

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Sarah O'Sullivan