British police probe black market Olympic tickets – report
LONDON – British police have launched an investigation into the black-market sale of Olympic tickets by three official ticket agents covering the Games, a Sunday newspaper reported.
The Sunday Times report said Scotland Yard began the probe after an expose it carried out during which Olympic officials and agents “were secretly filmed selling thousands of top tickets for up to 10 times face value.”
Detectives from Operation Podium, set up by the force to tackle Games-related ticket fraud, launched the inquiry last week after studying more than 20 hours of recordings provided by the newspaper, the report said.
Officers will seek to question agents representing the Olympic committees of China, Serbia and Lithuania and could make several arrests during the Games, the report added.
The report said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was examining the same evidence and had suspended the ticketing process for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games in Russia.
The undercover investigation claimed to have found widespread corruption among officials and agents controlling the tickets for at least 54 countries.
A Scotland Yard spokesman would not confirm that the new probe had been launched but said police seeking to prevent ticket touting at the Games had made 16 arrests over the past two days as part of Operation Podium.
Five people were held on suspicion of ticket touting before Friday’s opening ceremony and of these a German man, 57, and a Slovakian woman, 30, had been charged with ticket touting, the spokesman said.
Officers made a further 11 arrests on suspicion of ticket touting on Saturday, while two people were held in relation to the alleged theft of two Olympic Lane passes.
The head of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Podium, Detective Superintendent Nick Downing, said: “My team has been working tirelessly to clamp down on ticket touts.
“We have been, and will continue to seek out and take robust action against anybody who tries to cash in on the 2012 Games in this way.”