Ticket executive will be exonerated
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 after being arrested on July 7, 2014 - by Tasso Marcelo
Briton Ray Whelan, a director of FIFA partner Match Services, left his Rio hotel before police could detain him Thursday but his firm insisted he was not fleeing justice.
Match Services AG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Byrom plc, a British-based company which has provided services to FIFA and World Cup Local Organising Committees since 1994.
"Based on the experience gained throughout almost 30 years of collaboration with Byrom plc, FIFA trusts in the loyal and respectable business behavior of Byrom plc," FIFA said in a statement.
FIFA "is confident that an assessment of all facts and underlying business concepts will exonerate the staff and principals of Byrom plc," world football's governing body added, stressing it was committed to fighting scalping.
Police sought Whelan after a judge ordered him and 10 other suspects to be held in detention over a World Cup ticket fraud involving 1,000 tickets per match alleged to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
Match said Friday the term "fugitive" was not appropriate as Whelan was with his lawyer who would re-submit a legal challenge to the arrest order against him after Brazilian authorities turned down an initial request.
Whelan had already been detained by Brazilian police on Monday, and released on Tuesday.
Saying the firm was confident charges against its director would be rebutted, Match added there were no legal restrictions on Whelan's movements as long as he stayed in Brazil.
The suspects in the case face charges of organized crime, illegal ticket sales, corruption, money laundering and tax fraud.