RIO DE JANEIRO-- Brazilian police on Thursday said they plan to re-arrest the director of a World Cup hospitality company implicated in a ticket scalping scheme, and that they expect to broaden their investigation to include football administrators.
Investigator Fabio Barucke told The Associated Press he was en route to the lavish Copacabana Palace hotel to again arrest Ray Whelan, an executive with the MATCH group. Police accuse Whelan of being the main source of World Cup tickets that were sold to an Algerian national they label as the biggest scalper of Cup tickets.
In an earlier detailed statement, Match Services denied any wrongdoing by Whelan, and said he was willing to cooperate with any investigation, confident that it would exonerate him of any wrongdoing.
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.
However, Barucke told the AP in an hour-long, exclusive interview late Wednesday night that he's formally requesting that a judge consider the action of Whelan and at least 11 others already arrested in the alleged scalping scheme of having formed a criminal conspiracy -- which could result in significant jail time.
That would "give a shot of adrenaline" to the police investigation, Barucke said, adding that authorities had recorded about 50,000 phone calls of suspected scalpers in Rio de Janeiro, recordings that started about a month before the Cup began.