RIO DE JANEIRO: All the men arrested over allegations of World Cup ticket touting during the finals have now been freed on bail writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Agents for Rio civil police and the Public Affairs Ministry arrested 11 men in raids in the city and Sao Paulo on July 1 and seized cash, tickets, passports and mobile phones.
Later Ray Whelan, English executive consultant to FIFA ticketing partner Match Services was also arrested and detained.
Police alleged all had been involved in a long-running ticket touring operation, charges they – and UK-based Match – had denied.
Two weeks ago Whelan was released on bail and now the other detainees have been freed with the appeal court judge ruling that the charges are not serious enough to demand detention in custody pending trial.
The initial men arrested included 57-year-old French Algerian Lamine Fofana who had been described by police and prosecutors, initially, as ring-leader.
Police had said Fofana had a home in Dubai and an office in Switzerland, that his phone calls had been monitored for several months and many of these had been to a number in Zurich.
In fact, two ticket inquiries appeared to become confused.
The one concerned police suspicions about tickets handled by Match while the other concerned tickets in Fofana’s possession and which had come from three national team delegations.
Police sources named the delegations as those of Argentina, Brazil. Within 24 hours Humberto Mario Grondona, the son of Argentinian FA president Julio Grondona (who is also FIFA’s senior vice-president) had owned up on television to having passed on to friends tickets he had bought, properly, through the ‘FIFA family’ system.