OCI says it won’t contribute to Hickey’s Brazil bail bond

The Olympic Council of Ireland has categorically ruled out making any contribution to a bail bond that its president Pat Hickey is required to pay as a condition of being allowed to leave Brazil.
OCI says it won’t contribute to Hickey’s Brazil bail bond

Mr Hickey, who is facing charges relating to alleged ticket touting during the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has been given permission to return to Ireland on health grounds by Brazil’s special court for supporters and large events.

Denying all allegations against him, he had been released from custody in August. Brazilian authorities retained his passport and the 71-year-old stepped aside from his Olympic duties until the conclusion into the investigation.

Justice Juliana Leal de Melo set Mr Hickey’s bail at $1.5m (Brazilian, around €410,000).

“We are happy to advise that a judge in Brazil has ruled that Pat Hickey will be permitted to return to Ireland,” the OCI said in a brief statement yesterday in which it appealed to the media to respect the privacy of Mr Hickey and his family.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, a spokesperson for the OCI said it “categorically will not at present or in the future” pay towards Mr Hickey’s bond.

The spokesperson did confirm the OCI provided assistance towards Mr Hickey’s accommodation costs while he remained in Brazil, but said the information in relating to the actual costs involved was not yet available.

The spokesperson said the issue as to who pays Mr Hickey’s legal fees had “yet to be sorted”, and the views of other parties, such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the European Olympic Committee, and insurance companies, would have to be considered.

The IOC covered the cost of Mr Hickey’s travel to the Rio games in the summer.

The Irish Examiner submitted a number of queries to the IOC — including whether it has or will make any contribution to Mr Hickey’s bond, legal fees, or travel and accommodation costs.

“These questions are not for the IOC, we refer you to Mr Hickey’s representatives,” said the IOC’s media relations team.

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Shane Ross said yesterday that he hopes, and expects, Mr Hickey will co-operate with a Government-commissioned inquiry when he returns to Ireland.

Mr Ross would not comment on the OCI’s decision not to foot the bail bond. He said of the Brazilian authorities’ decision to all Mr Hickey travel home: “It’s obviously a humanitarian decision and that is to be taken in that context.”

Regarding criticism by Jonathan Irwin, chief executive of the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, that the Government had abandoned Mr Hickey in Brazil, Mr Ross said: “Mr Irwin’s got a long history of charity and humanity. I acknowledge that and that’s his view, I’m not going to respond to it.”

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