• Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Brazil police indict 12 over illegal ticket sales

BBC Online
 Police believe the tickets were sold illegally to unsuspecting fans. Photo: Getty Images
Police believe the tickets were sold illegally to unsuspecting fans. Photo: Getty Images

Police in Brazil have formally accused 12 people, including the director of a World Cup hospitality company, over alleged illegal ticket sales.

Ray Whelan, who works for Fifa partner company Match Hospitality, was held in Rio de Janeiro on Monday and released after questioning.

Whelan - who denies any wrongdoing - has now surrendered his passport.

An international gang is said to have earned some $90m (£52m) per tournament and may have acted at four World Cups.

The gang is believed to have been making money by acquiring and illegally selling on VIP tickets and hospitality passes.

'ILLEGAL AND ABSURD'

The 12 suspects are formally accused of illegal ticket selling and criminal association.

Whelan, a British national, was detained on Monday at Rio de Janeiro's exclusive Copacabana Palace Hotel, which is also hosting officials from Fifa, world football's governing body.

The CEO of Match Hospitality, a subsidary company of Fifa in charge of World Cup ticket packages, Raymond Whelan arrives at a police station in Rio de Janeiro after being arrested accused of leading a network that illegal sold game passes, on July 7, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Getty Images
The CEO of Match Hospitality, a subsidary company of Fifa in charge of World Cup ticket packages, Raymond Whelan arrives at a police station in Rio de Janeiro after being arrested accused of leading a network that illegal sold game passes, on July 7, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Getty Images

The other 11 suspects were arrested last week.

A public prosecutor in Rio is now reviewing the evidence and will decide in coming days whether to bring the case to court.

On Wednesday, Whelan decided to give his tournament credentials.

In a statement, Match Hospitality said that he "takes this decision with no acceptance of wrongdoing" and would be "exonerated".

It added that Whelan "remains fully co-operative for further investigations which he is certain will exonerate him".

Whelan's, Fernando Fernandes, said that his arrest was "illegal and absurd".

Switzerland-based Match Hospitality - part of UK sports event manager Byrom based in Cheadle, near Manchester - said on Tuesday that it was assisting the police investigation.

A statement from Fifa said that it "continues to fully collaborate with the local authorities and will provide any details requested to assist with this ongoing investigation".

Published: 12:03 pm Thursday, July 10, 2014

Last modified: 10:18 pm Thursday, July 10, 2014

TAGS: FIFA World Cup 2014 illegal ticket sale

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