Pat Hickey has arrived back in Dublin after almost five months in Brazil, once again reiterating his innocence in relation to alleged ticket-touting at the Rio Olympics and stating that he "will do everything possible to clear my name."
The former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), who temporarily stepped aside from that role following his arrest in Rio on August 17th, left Brazil on Wednesday night, and following a few days in London, arrived in Dublin on Sunday evening.
“I have returned to Ireland where I will undergo ongoing medical treatment under the care of my medical consultant,” said Mr Hickey, in a statement issued to The Irish Times. “It has been an extremely traumatic few months for myself and my family.
“Once again I wish to state that I am totally innocent of all charges against me.
“I intend to adhere to any requests made by the Brazilian authorities and I will do everything possible to clear my name so that I can, in due course, get on with my life with my wife and family.”
Mr Hickey also acknowledged the assistance of the International Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) who put up the €410,000 as the bail bond demanded by the Rio court in order for his passport to be returned so he could leave Brazil on medical grounds.
That bond will be surrendered should Mr Hickey fail to return to Rio to face the charges, although a court date has yet to be set.
“I am very grateful to the International Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) for so generously putting up the necessary funding to secure my release for my return to Ireland,” he said.
“I wish to thank most sincerely those who sent messages of support to me and my family in recent months.
“These meant so much to me at the most difficult time in my life and especially when, sadly, there was such a rush to judgment among some members of the media,” he said.
Appeal for privacy
“I will not be making any further comment until the appropriate time and I would respectfully ask for privacy for my family and myself.
“I am delighted to be home and to be able to spend Christmas with my family, my wife, Sylviane, my four children, my five grandchildren and hopefully the safe arrival of two more grandchildren in January,” he added.
Central to the release of his passport last month was the condition Mr Hickey agrees “to attend all aspects of the ongoing legal process” with regard to those charges of alleged ticket-touting during the Rio Games and that “in his absence that he maintain representation to receive intimations of the court”.
Last week Mr Hickey confirmed he will not be seeking re-election as OCI president at February’s extraordinary general meeting.
It means that egm – set for Dublin on February 9th – will formally bring to an end Mr Hickey’s reign as OCI president, a position he has held largely unchallenged since 1989, winning a record seventh four-year term in 2014.
In the meantime acting OCI president Willie O’Brien, who Mr Hickey had already identified as his successor, has confirmed he will be putting his name forward for the position on a permanent basis.