Hickey’s return moves a step closer

Pat Hickey’s legal team has confirmed that the bond money required for the release of his passport has been received in Brazil in recent days.

Lawyer Simone Kamenetz yesterday confirmed that R$1.5m (Brazilian reals) arrived into the country in the past couple of days. Now, the legal team are waiting for the money to pass through banking compliance systems, so it may be lodged to the courts.

On Thursday it was reported that the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), of which Mr Hickey was vice president, will pay R$1.5m (around €410,000), as required by the Brazilian courts in order for Mr Hickey to get his passport back. ANOC said it had “agreed to temporarily loan the bail payment for Patrick Hickey to return home for medical reasons”.

Yesterday, senior counsel for Mr Hickey, Arthur Lavigne, said he knew nothing of the payment, or its origin, and that the bond had not been paid.

However, hours later Ms Kamenetz confirmed that the money has reached Brazil, and will be lodged to the courts, once Brazilian banks clear it: “The money cannot be lodged directly to the courts, from overseas. The courts do not handle foreign currency. The lodgement is passing through the bank’s compliance, and will be liberated in the coming days. Then it will be paid to the courts.”

Ms Kamenetz said Mr Hickey is “much more animated now that he knows he can go home”. She said he has now made an appointment for a medical procedure in Ireland on his return, adding that her client is happy he can go home to see family and his own doctor.

It is likely that on receipt of a payment to the courts, the actual return of Mr Hickey’s passport could take around 5-7 days, depending on how quickly the responsible judge can formally order its return.

The bail conditions laid down by the courts in Rio de Janeiro state that the passport may be returned so that Mr Hickey travels home to get medical attention, but that he must be willing to fully comply with the ongoing legal process in Brazil, and return as requested by court officials. Once paid, the bond amount will be returned on completion of the legal process, if the accused is acquitted. If condemned, the bond amount will be used to meet legal costs, fines, or compensation arising from the case.

The bond amount would be refunded in full if the case is shelved before reaching court, as has been requested by the legal team. A request to shelve the case was denied by the Special Court for Supporters and Large Events in recent weeks.

When granting bond conditions for the return of Mr Hickey’s passport, the Judge Juliana Leal de Melo acknowledged the possibility that Mr Hickey could leave Brazil, and not return. However, she said this needs to be weighed up against his right to receive medical treatment, and the fact that Mr Hickey does not have any ties to Brazil, where he has spent the last three months.

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