Cup ticket fugitive surrenders in Brazil

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A British World Cup ticketing executive accused of involvement with a scalping network blamed for fraud worth tens of millions of dollars turned himself in on Monday after a manhunt, Brazilian authorities said.

Ray Whelan, a director of FIFA partner Match Services, who had left his Rio hotel before police could detain him last Thursday, surrendered to a judge in the city, prosecutor Marcus Kac said.

Police confirmed Whelan, 64, had been detained after turning himself in to examining magistrate Rosita Maria de Oliveira Netto.

Authorities had been looking for Whelan after a judge ordered him and 10 other suspects to be held over a World Cup ticket fraud involving 1,000 tickets per match alleged to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

The group allegedly began its activities at the 2002 World Cup. Match Services AG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Byrom plc, a British-based company that has provided services to FIFA and World Cup Local Organizing Committees since 1994.

Whelan had already been detained by police last Monday, but was released the next day after paying 5,000 reais (US$2,260) in bail.

Police believe Whelan distributed free VIP tickets originally earmarked for non-governmental organizations, sponsors and players' relatives for resale via intermediaries.

"Whelan denied negotiating tickets with (fellow suspect) Franco-Algerian Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, his right-hand man, during the World Cup but we have proof of 900 calls between them during the event," police commissioner Fabio Barucke said last week.

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