Lawyer: Ray Whelan not on run in Brazil and was unaware of second arrest warrant when he left hotel
Last Updated: 11/07/14 11:27pm
The British man at the centre of the World Cup ticketing probe is not on the run, according to his lawyer.
Ray Whelan left the Copacabana Palace hotel on Thursday before police arrived to re-arrest him as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged illegal ticket sales.
Police investigator Fabio Barucke later described Whelan as "a fugitive", but a Friday statement from the office of lawyer Fernando Fernandes denied Whelan had deliberately evaded the police and said he was now waiting for a court to decide whether his new arrest warrant stands.
The statement read: "Fernando Fernandes said that Raymond Whelan was unaware of the arrest warrant when he left the Copacabana Palace, he is not running away from Rio de Janeiro, or the national territory, and that the executive has in force an injunction and is awaiting court decisions which will come into submission."
Whelan and MATCH - a FIFA partner company - deny wrongdoing, and an earlier statement from MATCH said their director was working with his lawyer attempting to have his arrest order revoked.
The MATCH statement read: "Mr Ray Whelan and his attorney Mr Fernando Fernandes left Copacabana Palace Hotel on 10 July prior to the arrival of the police.
"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.
Ray Whelan has not yet been granted the due process of a fair trial. MATCH remains absolutely confident that any charges raised against Ray will be rebutted.
"MATCH must emphasise its understanding that the terms of Ray Whelan’s previous release did not restrict Ray Whelan’s 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.
"We understand that any accused in Brazil has the fundamental right to resist a coercion that he believes to be arbitrary and illegal.
"Mr Whelan’s lawyers submitted an injunction to revoke the arrest order during the course of last night, which was denied, but we understand that Mr Whelan’s lawyers will today submit their request for reconsideration of that decision.
"Ray Whelan has not yet been granted the due process of a fair trial. MATCH remains absolutely confident that any charges raised against Ray will be rebutted."
Whelan was one of 12 people arrested last week as part of Operation Jules Rimet. He was later released without charge.