Pat Hickey, former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), will likely give evidence for the Rio 2016 Olympics ticket-touting scandal via Skype.
Hickey’s lawyers said he will not need to return to Brazil to face the charges of touting, money laundering and tax evasion as he can use Skype or submit his evidence by way of sworn deposition, subject to approval from the courts in Rio de Janeiro.
Giles J Kennedy & Co, Hickey’s Dublin solicitors, said written and verbal legal advice had been provided to Hickey stating that courts in Brazil can allow overseas defendants to participate in a trial from outside the jurisdiction.
“It is likely he will not be required to attend in Brazil for the trial [because] it can be conducted in his absence by one of two means,” said Kennedy, according to The Times.
“It can be done either on Skype, the preferred form in the Brazilian judicial system, or it can be done by what they call sworn interrogatories where you are asked questions and give sworn answers . . . a type of sworn deposition.”
Earlier in the year, Hickey’s barristers asked his Brazilian counterparts whether or not the accused in that country could “be tried and/or sentenced in their absence.”
The reply from Hickey’s Brazilian lawyer was that it is a possibility, but in order to do so, the judge must first recognise the defendant’s absence in the criminal proceeding filed against him.
The Oireachtas committee on sport, the legislature of Ireland, earlier denied Hickey’s request for non-attendance at a hearing this month, to which Kennedy said he was disappointed, The Times reports.
In addition, his lawyers in Brazil said that any evidence from any body, such as the judge-led inquiry into the controversy that eventually found no evidence of Hickey being engaged in criminal activity, could be used against him.
The Oireachtas is set to meet this week to deliberate the issues on how to handle the Olympics ticketing controversy, with sources suggesting that it is unlikely that Hickey or other witnesses will be subpoenaed to attend.
The meeting will instead focus more on the corporate governance issues at the OCI, including the body’s appointment of the THG ticketing agent as its preferred partner up to 2020, according to The Times.
Earlier this month, the Judge Carroll Moran inquiry into the alleged ticket touting found that the country’s authorised reseller was merely a front for the barred THG.
The report was commissioned after Hickey was arrested and charged over touting at last year’s Games. Hickey and THG executive Kevin Mallon are among nine people facing trial in Brazil over ticket touting, forming a criminal cartel, illicit marketing, embezzlement, tax evasion, and money laundering.
The report said Dublin company Pro10 was not genuine or fit for purpose and provided an inadequate and chaotic service. The Moran Inquiry concluded that Pro10 was used to disguise the continuing role of Marcus Evans Group-owned THG, which had been rejected by the Rio organising committee.
Image: Agência Brasil