EXCLUSIVE: Pat Hickey says he is not to blame for OCI bill of €1.5m

The former head of the Olympic Council of Ireland has spoken out for the first time since his arrest

EXCLUSIVE: Pat Hickey says he is not to blame for OCI bill of €1.5m

Pat Hickey speaks with Paul Williams | Image via @NewstalkFM on Twitter

Former head of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), Pat Hickey, has spoken for the first time since his arrest in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Mr Hickey was arrested last August as part of an investigation into alleged ticket touting.

It was announced that Mr Hickey would step aside as OCI president following his detention.

He was questioned by Brazilian police and spent some time in a maximum security prison.

He was freed from prison two weeks later and put under house arrest - returning to Ireland in December last year.

He has denied all charges made against him.

Some of his former OCI colleagues claim the ticketing scandal, and his arrest, have cost the sports body €1.5m.

Speaking exclusively to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Hickey denied that: "My reaction to that is that that is not correct.

"There is full insurance cover at the moment for my costs - and the impression the media give is that I was the sole cost of this spend of €1.5m.

"I've been able to establish after I was arrested in Rio, the executive committee created a crisis management committee - which consisted of three people - and they had powers of expenditure.

"The €1.5m was done without my knowledge, I know nothing about it - this was done by the crisis management committee.

"It's just that the media gave the impression that I was the cause of that cost".

"I've been president for nearly 30 years, and in the course of time you do make enemies and you do activities that people might not be happy with - and this was a great opportunity for them to come out and criticise me".

"I was portrayed as some sort of a world-class criminal that I was in some mafiosa conspiracy or something like that.

"The International Olympic Committee are fully backing me and fully supporting me in this crazy situation that I find myself in".

You can hear the full interview on Newstalk Breakfast from 7.00am on Wednesday, June 28th