Football

Published: Tuesday July 15, 2014 MYT 3:42:02 AM
Updated: Tuesday July 15, 2014 MYT 3:42:02 AM

World Cup ticket fugitive surrenders to Brazil court

Ray Whelan (L), of Switzerland-based Match Services, arrives at a police station after being arrested in Rio de Janeiro July 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Ray Whelan (L), of Switzerland-based Match Services, arrives at a police station after being arrested in Rio de Janeiro July 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Ray Whelan, the fugitive chief executive of a Swiss hospitality company implicated in an investigation into the illegal resale of VIP World Cup tickets, surrendered himself to a Rio de Janeiro court on Monday, a court spokeswoman said.

Whelan gave himself up to the Rio de Janeiro-state Justice Tribunal in downtown Rio and will be picked up by police shortly, the court said.

Rio state prosecutors have accused 12 people of engaging in criminal organisation, bribery, money-laundering and tax evasion in connection with a World Cup ticket "scalping" ring.

Scalping, or reselling tickets for profit, is illegal in Brazil.

A judge approved detention for 11, including Whelan, on June 10. Police allege that Whelan fled the Copacabana Palace hotel shortly before they arrived to detain him. Shortly after the failed arrest, Whelan was declared a fugitive, and his name was placed on an international Interpol watch list.

Whelan is chief executive of MATCH Services which had been granted the exclusive right to sell VIP tickets for the World Cup from FIFA, the world soccer governing body. MATCH is the main provider of hospitality packages for the World Cup and paid $240 million for the exclusive rights to sell corporate hospitality at the 2010 World Cup and this one.

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Jeb Blount, editing by Ed Osmond)

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