Pat Hickey has ended all remaining links with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), submitting a letter of resignation on health grounds six and a half years after self-suspending himself following his arrest at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 77-year-old from Dublin, who served as an IOC member since 1995, and was president of the former Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) from 1989, was arrested in Rio on the morning of August 17th, 2016, on the eve of the Olympics, and later charged with alleged ticket touting, money laundering and tax evasion.
Hickey denied all charges and his case still hasn’t gone to court in Brazil.
The IOC Ethics Committee, which has also been looking into the case since 2017, had repeatedly declined to comment. The case is now removed from their website.
At an IOC press briefing following the first day of the IOC executive board meeting at their headquarters in Lausanne, a statement read out by Mark Adams, lead IOC spokesperson, confirmed that Hickey has now permanently stepped down from any remaining IOC function or involvement.
“The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee has received a letter of resignation from IOC member Mr Patrick Hickey,” said Adams.
“In accordance with Rule 16.3.1 of the Olympic Charter, the IOC EB accepted the resignation of Mr Hickey for health reasons following the advice of his doctors.
“The IOC EB would like to thank Mr Hickey for all the services to the Olympic Movement over many years, and wish him all the very best for his health and his private life. And I’d like to add my own personal best wishes to Mr Hickey as well.”
Hickey’s arrest at Rio’s five-star Windsor Marapendi Hotel set in motion a series of events that ultimately resulted in the complete reform of the OCI, now the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI).
Hickey ended up spending 11 days in Rio’s notorious Bangu prison, later allowed to return home on €410,000 bail. Kevin Mallon, a director at the hospitality firm THG Sports and the OCI official ticket reseller, was arrested on similar charges. Both men have always denied any wrongdoing.
By 2017, the OFI disclosed that their legal costs associated with Rio exceeded €1 million.
Earlier this year, it emerged a Brazilian court had dropped several charges against both Hickey and Mallon. A previously unpublished ruling by a Rio court from October revealed three charges in the criminal action against the defendants were being dismissed, although the most serious charges remain active.
The charges dropped include allegations of ticket touting and charges relating to tax evasion. A judge ruled that the court would continue with four other charges including allegations of providing, diverting or facilitating the distribution of tickets for sale at a higher price, money laundering and promoting or financing a criminal organisation.
The latter charge carries a maximum sentence of eight years imprisonment under Brazilian law. There is still no court date set, the assumption among many in Brazil now that it may never come.