A British man has been caught in Rio de Janeiro allegedly selling fake World Cup tickets for as much as £1,350.
The 43-year-old, who has not been named, is suspected of working alongside an American to distribute passes for VIP treatment at matches.
Police in Brazil say the stash of 59 counterfeit tickets meant for unsuspecting tourists is the largest they have found yet.
Arrests: The unnamed British and American men were arrested in Rio de Janeiro
The man was detained outside a hotel in Copacabana neighbourhood of Rio last night with his alleged accomplice, who has also not been named.
Investigators said the men were trying to shift tickets to a variety of matches. Detective Alexandre Braga from the Leblon Tourist Services Police station said: ‘He was caught selling the tickets for between R$3000 to R$5000 (£800 to £1,350).
The tickets included VIP treatment with access to food, drink and transport, which usually costs an additional R$175 (£47). They tickets are said to look completely identical to the real thing.
‘Fake tickets’: The men were allegedly selling counterfeit tickets to unsuspecting tourists for as much as £1,350 each (file photo)
Detective Braga said police were investigating cloned cards when they apprehended the men, who were handing out envelopes containing tickets
He said: ‘Our undercover officers were in the area investigating a case about cloned cards and spotted the man at the door of the hotel selling tickets to two people.
‘The officers saw as the English man was approached by an American who handed him an envelope of more tickets. Both men were arrested.’
The men will be charged under a Brazilian anti-touting law, which carries sentences from six months to two years.
According to police the British man is linked to a company in England. They believe the tickets were funnelled through Austrian and Liechtenstein before ending up in Brazil.
Investigators say the Briton claims he received one of the envelopes from the American man to resell.
However, the U.S. man denied any involvement, telling Brazilian TV station Globo: ‘I was simply giving the envelope with the tickets to a friend.’
Investigators believe some sales could have already been made online, with supporters due to collect their orders from hotels. Police refused to give further details, but said they are investigating the international link.
Detective Braga said: ‘The English man said he is alone in Brazil and we do not know whether he has been carrying out this activity in Britain, so we are investigating further.’
A FIFA legal representative Imran Patel said: ‘The actions that will be taken regarding the tickets is confidential. I don’t want to reveal what the next step of the investigation will be but the tickets will be invalidated.’
Both men have been released on bail and will appear in court to answer the charges within the next fortnight.