FIFA partner asserts its indicted exec is not a fugitive and did not flee Brazil

FIFA partner Match Hospitality is sticking by its senior director, Ray Whalen, saying it is "absolutely confident" he will successfully rebut allegations he participated in illegal World Cup sales. The company asserted Friday that Whelan did not flee Brazil, is with his attorney, and is not a fugitive.
By JC Finley  |  July 11, 2014 at 5:11 PM
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RIO DE JANEIRO, July 11 (UPI) -- Ray Whelan, a senior director of FIFA partner Match Hospitality who was indicted on Thursday for illegal World Cup sales, did not flee Brazil and is not considered a fugitive, contrary to allegations, Match officials clarified Friday.

Whelan was indicted along with 11 others for illegally selling VIP tickets and hospitality passes to the World Cup tournament in Brazil.

When police arrived at Whelan's hotel on Thursday, they were told he had left. His whereabouts unknown, police chief Fabio Barucke reportedly said Whelan was therefore considered a fugitive.

Match disputed characterizations that Whelan had fled and was considered a fugitive.

In a statement provided by the company, Match stated:

"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.

"Match must emphasise its understanding that the terms of Ray Whelan's previous release did not restrict [his] movements, provided he stayed within Brazil. We do not believe that the term 'fugitive' is appropriate under the circumstances as he is presently with his lawyer."

Match maintained that Whelan did nothing illegal and that the company was "absolutely confident" he would ultimately be cleared of all charges.

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