Pat Hickey unlikely to make it home this weekend

Pat Hickey is expected to return to Ireland in the coming days but the likelihood of him making it home this weekend dimmed yesterday.

The head of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), who temporarily stepped down from the post following his arrest at the Rio Games in August, had been expected to have his passport returned to him yesterday, paving the way for him to fly back to Ireland.

Bail worth 1.5m Brazilian reals (€410,000) was also lodged to facilitate his release from custody, as he has been detained since August on charges of ticket-touting, formation of a cartel, and illicit marketing, all of which he has strenuously denied.

However, delays in the Brazilian legal system appeared to have slowed the progress of the application, with indications from sources close to the Irishman yesterday saying it could be next week before he is finally able to return to Ireland.

Thursday was a public holiday in Brazil, meaning a delay in confirmation of the bail payment. The money was loaned to Mr Hickey by the Association of National Olympic Committees so as to facilitate Mr Hickey’s return to Ireland for medical treatment.

A judge must officially acknowledge receipt of the money and the passport must be physically returned before the 71-year-old can finally leave Brazil, almost four months since his arrest on August 17.

His Brazil-based senior counsel Arthur Lavigne was unavailable for comment yesterday but it is understood that the chances of Mr Hickey making it back to Ireland over the weekend have receded somewhat.

On his eventual return to Ireland it is understood Mr Hickey will speak at some stage with the Moran Inquiry, established by the Sports Minister, Shane Ross, to investigate the distribution and sale of tickets at the Rio Olympics. In November, it invited submissions from members of the public concerning their experience in applying for tickets at the Olympic Games.

Mr Hickey, who before the Games had signalled that he intended to step down permanently from his role as head of the OCI, has denied any wrongdoing.


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