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British executive risks jail on return to Brazil

November 25, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A British executive charged in an alleged World Cup ticket-scalping scheme could be sent back to jail if he returns to Brazil.

Ray Whelan, an executive of Match Services — the hospitality and ticketing partner of football’s world governing body FIFA — was arrested on July 14. That was the day after Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in the World Cup final.

Brazil’s Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a ruling that allowed Whelan to be released in August from a Rio de Janeiro prison. He subsequently received permission from a lower court to leave Brazil under the condition he returns. He left earlier this month.

News reports in Brazil said Whelan was in Britain. It was not clear what would happen if he elected not to return to face the charges.

Brazilian police put wiretaps on Whelan’s phone and recorded him speaking about deals to sell tickets. The company has said in a statement that Whelan tried to sell the tickets, including VIP packages, at the official prices amounting to about $25,000.

Selling tickets at above face value is illegal in Brazil.

Whelan, who has maintained his innocence, was classed briefly as a fugitive in Brazil, but eventually handed himself over to police.

No trial date in Brazil has been set.

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Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP

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