Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014 04:46 | By Agence France-Presse

FIFA partner exec 'flees justice' in tickets case

An executive from the World Cup's hospitality services firm was labeled a fugitive Thursday after fleeing his Rio hotel to avoid arrest in an illegal tickets sales case, Brazilian media reported.


FIFA partner exec 'flees justice' in tickets case

The CEO of Match Hospitality, a subsidary company of FIFA in charge of World Cup ticket packages, Raymond Whelan sits at a police station in Rio de Janeiro on July 7, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro - by Tasso Marcelo

Ray Whelan, a British director of FIFA partner company Match Services, left the Copacabana Palace Hotel in a hurry an hour before police arrived to arrest him, investigator Fabio Barucke said, according to the G1 news website.

Whelan disappeared after prosecutors ordered him and 10 other suspects to be placed in preventive detention in an investigation on the illegal sale of World Cup tickets.

"He left through the service door. We saw him in (security) footage leaving in a hurry. He is considered a fugitive," Barucke said.

Whelan had been arrested on Monday but was granted preventive release the next day. Police filed charges against him on Wednesday and submitted the case to prosecutors.

Police say Whelan was involved with a scalping network that sold thousands of tickets worth millions of dollars, going back to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Brazilian media have published leaked phone calls between Whelan and one of the chief suspects in the case, French-Algerian Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, discussing hospitality packages for games including Sunday's final.

But Match Services has defended Whelan, saying he was innocent and that there was nothing illegal about the conversations.

The Zurich-based company says Whelan was discussing the sale of 24 hospitality packages at the correct price, though he rounded up the figure to $25,000 from $24,750 per package, and that the deal was never concluded.

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