Pat Hickey leaves Rio prison after judge orders his release

Ex-OCI chief driven out without speaking to media waiting at Bangu 10 prison entrance


Former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey left prison on Tuesday morning local time, a day after a Brazilian appeal court judge ordered his release.

The ex-OCI head left the José Frederico Marques public jail, also known as Bangu 10, just before 11am local time. He was driven out in a car without speaking to media waiting at the prison entrance.

Mr Hickey released a statement after his release: “I have been released from the police detention system. I will now stay in Rio and my lawyers will proceed to have the charges laid against me set aside as there is no substantive proof of any wrongdoing on my part.

“I would like to thank the prison authorities for their kindness they have shown to me. Due to my medical condition, I will be making no further statements.”

Mr Hickey was released 13 days after his arrest and 11 days after his arrival at the remand unit in the western suburbs of Rio.

He is accused by police of participating in a ticket touting operation that allegedly saw OCI tickets passed to British company THG even though its application to be the OCI’s official ticket vendor for the Rio Olympics was rejected by organisers.

The Rio court which authorised Mr Hickey’s arrest declared him a flight risk as justification for holding him on remand.

Habeas corpus

However, in granting Mr Hickey a writ of habeas corpus, Rio appeal court judge Fernando Antonio de Almeida wrote that “it is not verified, in a concrete and objective manner, the necessity of cautionary custody” and that it was not shown that Mr Hickey’s release “would bring whatever obstacle to or risk to public order, criminal investigation or, if necessary, the future application of penal law”.

In his ruling, judge de Almeida wrote that “in the case in question, none of the three crimes ascribed to have as their maximum applied penalty more than four years, therefore, evidently, it is not plausible to maintain him in prison like he finds himself”.

On Saturday, THG’s Dublin finance director Kevin Mallon was released from the cell he was sharing with Mr Hickey after a federal court in Brasília granted him a writ of habeas corpus.

He was arrested in possession of 823 OCI tickets.

Authorities are keeping both men’s passports in order to ensure they remain in Brazil while the investigation into the OCI tickets continues.

THG was not authorised to sell tickets or hospitality packages for the event within Brazil or abroad. Both men deny any wrongdoing.