Three Brazil charges against ex-Olympics chief Pat Hickey are dropped

Former Olympic Council of Ireland president was charged with a range of offences in 2016

Pat Hickey still faces several charges in Brazil. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Pat Hickey still faces several charges in Brazil. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

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Some of the charges levelled against former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland Pat Hickey and two others in Brazil more than five years ago have been dropped, it has emerged.

Three of the charges against Mr Hickey, along with Kevin Mallon, director of sports hospitality company THG, and Brazilian woman Barbara Carnieri, were dropped due to “extinction of punishability”.

Mr Mallon and Mr Hickey were accused in Brazil in 2016 of a range of offences, including ticket touting for the Rio Olympics of that year. Both have said they are innocent.

A charge relating to the use of Rio 2016 logos, products or services for economic advantage without the correct permissions was formally dropped, as was a tax evasion charge, in a previously unreported decision on October 18th last.

A charge levelled against the three under Article 41-F of a Brazilian sporting law, which deals with ticket touting, has also been dropped, because too much time has elapsed. However, a further charge under Article 41-G of that same criminal code has been maintained.

This refers to the organisation of ticket touting, rather than the physical act of selling, and carries a penalty of two to four years in jail, which can be increased by one-third if the guilty party was a public servant or worked for a sporting entity.

A charge of criminal association, which is defined as to “promote, constitute, finance or integrate, personally or through an intermediary, a criminal organisation”, remains active, too. It carries a jail term of three to eight years.

Charges of larceny, which carries a penalty of three to 10 years’ imprisonment plus a fine, have also been maintained. Brazilian law allows for penalties to increase if the crime is committed repeatedly or through a criminal organisation.

Postponed hearing

In the October ruling, a Rio de Janeiro court set a date of November 23rd, 2021, for “instruction and judgment” on the case, but this hearing was postponed on request by Mr Mallon’s defence team.

Lawyers have requested additional time for “carrying out other measures”, said a courts spokesperson. A new date for the hearing has not been set, but it is likely to be more than eight months away.

Mr Hickey and Mr Mallon left Brazil in December 2016, having paid a bond of BRL$1.5 million (worth €410,000 at the time) and BRL$750,000, respectively. It is not known if either man will have to appear before the Rio court once a new date is set. This is at the discretion of the judge.

Defence lawyers for the two Irish men have maintained their innocence since their arrests and have several times argued in the courts that there is a “lack of just cause” for prosecuting the two.