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SBD Global/July 7, 2014/World Cup

Police Investigation Into Scalping Syndicate Says FIFA Official Played Role In Scam

An "illegal ticketing scandal rocked the World Cup," according to Rod Woollard of the AFP. Police probing an int'l scalping syndicate said that "thousands of illegally sold tickets worth millions of dollars were believed to have originated from a FIFA individual." Rio de Janeiro Police Commissioner Fabio Barucke said that the "unnamed foreign national was staying at the luxury Copacabana Palace hotel, an official FIFA hotel during the World Cup." Barucke added that the individual is "thought to have funnelled tickets to the black market with an intermediary in Match Hospitality, the official World Cup ticket agency." Match Hospitality "also organises ticketing for other major sporting events" (AFP, 7/4). In N.Y., Jordan & Connors reported Brazilian police have arrested 11 people. Police officials "didn't name the FIFA official and said they are still working to determine his identity." Police said that the accused "obtained tickets meant for sponsors, nongovernmental organizations and national teams." The tickets were then "illegally resold for several times their face value." Police estimate that the accused netted about $100M from selling the tickets. Vicente Barroso, the police department's lead investigator on the case, said that he could not "reveal how police knew that a FIFA official was involved in the alleged scam" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/4). RUSSIA TODAY reported Barucke added that the suspect "is not Brazilian and is only in the South American country because of the World Cup." The AP reported that the "suspected ringleader has been named as Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, an Algerian man who was previously staying at the Copacabana Palace hotel, where all the top FIFA executives are staying." Barucke "believes Fofana was the middleman and that the ticket source was 'someone higher up' the chain'" (RT, 7/4).

: In Dublin, Tom Hennigan reported investigators said that a "gang of up to 30 people" made more than €600,000 ($815,760) a game at the tournament selling tickets that it received from a FIFA office. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said, "I know nothing." One of the partners in Match Hospitality is his nephew Phillip Blatter. In a "later statement" FIFA denied Fofana "had Fifa accreditation at the tournament" or access to a FIFA car. FIFA Marketing Dir Thierry Weil said FIFA would analyze the tickets seized by Brazilian police to "confirm their authenticity and help the authorities identify their source" (IRISH TIMES, 7/4).

FIFA EXEC'S SON ADMITS INVOLVEMENT: The PA reported Argentine FA President & FIFA VP Julio Grondona's son Humberto "has admitted to selling on tickets to a friend contrary to FIFA's regulations." The tickets "are among those seized by Brazilian police." The disclosure that Grondona's son has been involved is a "huge embarrassment to FIFA -- he has a post as a technical adviser to the world governing body." His father has been a FIFA exec committee member since '88 and is "also chairman of FIFA's powerful finance committee" (PA, 7/5).
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Related Topics:

International Football, Brazil

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