The Brazilian police have labeled Ray Whelan a fugitive after the British senior director of FIFA's official hospitality company fled his hotel through a service door.
Whelan, police chief Fabio Barucke said, was seen exiting the Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio de Janeiro with his lawyer Fernando Fernandes. The 64-year-old had been detained Monday in connection with a $100 million ticket touting investigation, in which Whelan and 11 others are suspected of illegally acquiring and selling VIP and hospitality tickets over four World Cup tournaments. Whelan surrendered his passport and returned his FIFA credentials, but was released after Monday's questioning.
Match released a statement saying Whelan's tapped calls leaked to Brazilian broadcaster Globo fail to implicate him, as well as denying Whelan's wrongdoing in selling the packages, reported The Guardian:
Far from helping to incriminate Mr Whelan, they secured a nationwide audience who clearly heard Mr Whelan conduct a discussion for the possible sale of an official hospitality product... The 24 hospitality packages were offered on cash basis, which is highly unusual but permitted under the various terms and conditions.
FIFA also released a statement, saying it will continue "to fully collaborate with the local authorities and will provide any details requested."
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