Hickey Bail loan agreed for Ireland return

The 71-year-old Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president is awaiting trial over an alleged ticket scam at the Rio Olympics this summer.

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Olympic Committee of Ireland president, Patrick Hickey arriving at a police station to be questioned over alleged Olympic ticket touting, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 6, 2016 play

Olympic Committee of Ireland president, Patrick Hickey arriving at a police station to be questioned over alleged Olympic ticket touting, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 6, 2016

(AFP/File)
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Stricken sports official Patrick Hickey was given the green light to return to Ireland from Brazil on Thursday after the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) agreed to finance his bail.

The 71-year-old Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president is awaiting trial over an alleged ticket scam at the Rio Olympics this summer.

Brazilian prosecutors said Hickey could have his passport returned to seek medical treatment abroad provided he lodged bail of 1.5 million real ($435,000).

On Thursday, his wish was granted when ANOC chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah announced his organisation would cover the cost.

"ANOC can confirm that on humanitarian grounds they have agreed to temporarily loan the bail payment for Patrick Hickey to return home for medical reasons," said a statement.

"The decision was unanimously approved by ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and all ANOC Vice-Presidents via a postal vote on 20 November 2016.

"The payment was made as a temporary loan so that Patrick Hickey could meet his bail requirements and return to Ireland where he can receive medical treatment for a heart condition.

"The terms of the temporary loan make it clear that it must be repaid to ANOC in full. For legal reasons, all other terms and conditions surrounding this bail payment will remain confidential."

Hickey, who has a history of heart problems, was also the head of the European Olympic Committee at the time of his arrest but has since stepped down temporarily from both his continental and Irish Olympic positions.

He was arrested by Brazilian police during the Rio Olympics in August as part of a raid into an illegal ticket sales scheme.

He denies any wrongdoing but has been formally charged, along with nine others, on counts that include ticket-touting (scalping), ambush marketing, theft, tax evasion, money-laundering and criminal association.

The OCI, which has been paying for an apartment in Rio where Hickey has been residing following the confiscation of his passport and subsequent release from prison detention, had said it would only meet his legal fees if he was found innocent.

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