Alleged World Cup ticket scalpers can leave Brazil for up to 3 months



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SAO PAULO — A Brazilian court has given a British executive charged in an alleged World Cup ticket-scalping scheme permission to leave the country for as long as three months.

Attorneys for Ray Whelan said Wednesday they had asked for the ruling in case he needs to take care of personal or professional matters. But they say he has no intention of leaving for now.

The court's press office said it could not provide details because the case falls under secrecy laws.

Whelan is charged with providing tickets to Algerian businessman Mohamadou Lamine Fofana. The two men were arrested in July and released a month later to await trial in freedom.

Whelan worked for the MATCH group, which owned rights to sell World Cup hospitality packages. The company has denied any wrongdoing by Whelan.

The company did acknowledge that Whelan and Fofana discussed cash sales of final tickets for $25,000 in telephone calls wiretapped by Rio de Janeiro police — but said they were packages that included not just tickets but VIP services, hence the high price.

Fofana was also given permission to leave Brazil for three months.

Calls to Fofana's attorney, Lilian Rosemary Weeks, went unanswered. However, O Globo newspaper quoted her as saying that as soon as the authorities return his passport, he plans to travel to France to visit his sick mother, and then to the United States and Dubai where he has business interests.

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