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Missing World Cup ticket executive not “fugitive” – firm

Ray Whelan

A World Cup ticketing excutive who fled a Rio de Janeiro hotel just before police arrived to detain him is not “a fugitive,”

Ray WhelanRio de Janeiro: A World Cup ticketing excutive who fled a Rio de Janeiro hotel just before police arrived to detain him is not “a fugitive,” his company said.

The executive, Ray Whelan, is with his laywer, the Match company, which has close links to football’s governing body, FIFA, said. But it refused to say where he is.

Rio police said that Whelan was “a fugitive” after he left a back entrance of the luxury Copacabana Palace hotel on Thursday. They warned yesterday of new measures if Whelan tries to return to Britain.

Police sought Whelan, a director of Match Services, after a judge ordered him and 10 other suspects to be held in detention over a World Cup ticket fraud alleged to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

His firm insisted in a statement however that Whelan and his attorney Fernando Fernandes had not fled the hotel and that he was innocent of allegations of illegal ticket sales.

The company added, however, that it had not spoken with Whelan since his disappearance.

“The CCTV images of the internal hotel surveillance system distributed to the media show that Mr Whelan did not rush from the hotel.

“Police arrived thereafter, and finding Mr Whelan was not there, simply requested that he present himself at the 18th Precinct (police station),” Match said.

Therefore “we do not believe that the term ‘fugitive’ is appropriate under the circumstances as he is presently with his lawyer.

Match said Whelan’s lawyers would re-submit a legal challenge to the arrest order after the authorities turned down their first request overnight.

A World Cup ticketing excutive who fled a Rio de Janeiro hotel just before police arrived to detain him is not “a fugitive,”

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