Judge Allows Foreign National Charged with Ticket Scalping to Return Home
Ticket scalping is a common practice for high-profile events, and the Olympic Games are no exception. To no one’s surprise, scalpers resold tickets for the Rio Olympic Games at highly inflated prices. But in one of these instances, the alleged scalping was coordinated by an unexpected source: an Olympic official.
Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, denies the charges against him. He had remained in Brazil while the Brazilian legal system processed his case, but now he is on his way home. This development may have an impact on future cases involving foreign nationals who face criminal charges in Brazil.
According to The Guardian, police say Hickey plotted with businessmen to illegally transfer tickets from a sports company to a hospitality company that was unauthorized to sell tickets to the Olympics. These tickets were allegedly sold for much higher than face value. Others who were allegedly involved in the ticket scheme were also arrested and face similar charges.
Before Hickey was jailed, he was taken to a hospital for two days to undergo tests because of his medical history, The Guardian reported. He was subsequently released from jail, but he was required to surrender his passport and remain in Brazil for the duration of his case.
However, a judge has since ruled that Hickey’s passport be returned to him and that he be permitted to return to Ireland to receive medical attention as he has no connection to Brazil. While the nature of Hickey’s “health problem” was not disclosed, the court did require Hickey to pay a bond of approximately 1.4 million reais.
In the decision to allow Hickey to return to Ireland, the judge also granted Brazilian officials full access to phones and other electronic devices found during the police investigation. Although the case is still ongoing, permitting a charged individual to leave Brazil prior to the conclusion of a case sets a strong precedent for future cases involving foreign nationals.