World Cup tickets official arrested over illegal sales

Picture of Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Palace Hotel, an official FIFA hotel during the World Cup Brazil 2014 taken on July 3, 2014 (AFP Photo/Tasso Marcelo)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Brazilian police arrested on Monday a director from the FIFA partner company in charge of World Cup ticket packages, accusing him of leading a network that illegally sold game passes.

A police spokesman told AFP that Ray Whelan, director at the hospitality firm Match, was detained at Rio de Janeiro's luxurious Copacabana Palace Hotel, days after 11 people were rounded up in a raid to dismantle the network.

Whelan's nationality was not immediately known.

Police say the international scalping syndicate sold thousands of tickets worth millions of dollars, going back to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

A French-Algerian suspect, Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, was initially thought to be responsible for the scam after he was among 11 people arrested last week in Rio and Sao Paulo.

But suspicions moved toward an individual at Match Hospitality, the official World Cup ticket agency, which sells deluxe packages that include private suites at stadiums and gourmet catering.

Authorities intercepted phone calls between Fofana and Whelan, according to the newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting