Suspected World Cup ticket-scalping conspirator surrenders
A week after he was arrested for suspected involvement in a ticket-scalping ring at the World Cup in Brazil, Raymond Whalen, the director of the company Match Hospitality AG, turned himself in to law enforcement, said his lawyer, Fernando Fernandes, according to the Associated Press.
Police accuse Whalen of selling World Cup tickets to Lamine Fofana, a prominent Algerian entrepreneur who was arrested earlier this month, along with at least 10 other people, in connection with an investigation into more than 130 illegally sold tickets.
While the punishment under Brazilian law for selling tickets above face value typically does not include jail time, an investigator has asked that a judge consider the possibility that Whalen formed a criminal conspiracy.
Under Brazilian law, selling tickets for sporting events above face value is illegal. But it's a crime that normally results in a fine of about $225 and no prison sentence.
Chief investigator Fabio Barucke said he has formally requested that a judge consider the actions of Whelan and at least 11 others already arrested in the alleged scalping scheme of having formed a criminal conspiracy, a charge that carry significant jail time.
Whalen was released on $2,250 bail hours after the arrest and later declared a fugitive by police. He has been placed in a holding cell and is expected to be transferred to a jail.
Match, which is contracted to provide hospitality packages through the next two World Cups, has released statements denying wrongdoing by Whalen, according to the AP.
Calling the arrest a media stunt, Fernandes last week claimed his client was being victimized by police and said "all the tickets that were with Raymond, that the police apprehended, were in his name and his relatives' names," according to the Wall Street Journal.
The 2014 World Cup is over, but what now for Brazilians, especially the citizens in Rio's favelas, whose lives and livelihood remain in the balance with the 2016 Olympics on the horizon?
-- Chris Johnson