Lawyers acting for Pat Hickey, who is facing ticket-touting charges in Rio de Janeiro following his arrest at the Olympic Games last August, have lodged an application for the return of his passport, in a move which could see him return to Ireland shortly.
Mr Hickey (71) stood down temporarily from his position as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) shortly after his arrest.
Although he was released from prison in Rio after 11 days, the authorities retained his passport.
Rio public prosecutor Marcos Kac last month charged Mr Hickey and nine others with ticket-touting, ambush marketing, theft, tax evasion, money-laundering and criminal association.
Arthur Lavigne, senior counsel on Mr Hickey's legal team, told The Irish Times they made a request for the return of his passport on October 14th, so "he can travel to his homeland".
Citing Mr Hickey’s age and his separation from his family, Mr Lavigne said: “He is completely alone here in Rio.”
He said Mr Hickey was “anxiously awaiting a decision on this request”.
The application must be sent to the Rio public prosecutor’s office for an opinion, but the final decision lies with the presiding judge in the case.
“We need to wait,” Mr Lavigne said. “He has a chance.”
The courts service in Rio was unable to confirm a request had been made.
The public prosecutor stated he had not yet been formally asked to give his opinion, nor had he reached any decision on it.
Lawyers for Kevin Mallon, the Dublin man arrested on the eve of the Rio games and one of the 10 people charged last month, are also to request the return of his passport.
The public prosecutor, Mr Kac, has previously said it would not be necessary for foreign citizens to remain in Brazil for long periods while awaiting trial.
He has now said he believes one could take place more quickly than the original 18-month timetable.
“It will probably take much less time than that,” he said.
Unable to give a new time estimate, he said: “When you go to see a doctor, you never know how long the consultation will take. It’s the same for any process here in Brazil.”
Lawyers for Mr Mallon, an executive with London-based sports hospitality firm THG Sports, have already entered a habeas corpus request to Rio’s court of justice arguing that there is a “lack of just cause” for a prosecution.
Mr Mallon was charged with illegal ticket-selling after he was arrested at a Rio hotel.
His Sao Paulo-based solicitor Franklin Gomes said "there is not the slightest bit of evidence against Kevin Mallon".
Mr Gomes said he expects the judge will respond to the request within 10 days of receipt.
"There is no reason [Mr Mallon] cannot respond to this process from England or Ireland," said the lawyer.
The Brazilian prosecutors are working to split the Olympics ticketing case into two. People still in Brazil would face one set of charges. Those no longer in Brazil might answer a separate case.
Meanwhile, the Irish Olympic body has suffered another blow following the resignation of Kevin Kilty, the honorary treasurer who also served as the chef de mission for the Rio Olympics.
A reform plan from Deloitte, which is expected to propose major changes in the organisation of the OCI, will be debated at tonight's meeting of the organisation's executive.