Olympics: British police arrest 29 for ticket touting

July 31, 2012 6:16 am


Sri Lankans watch the live television broadcast of the London Olympics opening ceremony/AFP
LONDON, Jul 31 – British police said on Monday they had arrested 29 people for alleged ticket-touting at the London Olympics, and confirmed they were probing a report that approved agents were selling tickets at inflated prices.

Eleven people have been charged with the offence including a 57-year-old German man and a 30-year-old Slovakian woman, Scotland Yard said.

Wolfgang Menzel will appear at Thames Magistrates’ Court in east London on Monday while Maria Bukranova is set to appear at the same court on August 8, police said in a statement.

The arrests came as Olympics organisers sought to quell concerns over empty seats by making thousands more tickets available.
Separately, police said they had arrested three men on suspicion of posing as plainclothes police officers in order to steal cash or credit cards.

Scotland Yard confirmed on Monday that detectives had launched an investigation into the reported black-market sale of Olympic tickets by three official ticket agents.

The Sunday Times newspaper said it had secretly filmed Olympic officials and agents “selling thousands of top tickets for up to 10 times face value”, and that it had passed 20 hours of footage to police.

The report said officers would seek to question agents representing the Olympic committees of China, Serbia and Lithuania and could make several arrests during the Games.

“We can confirm officers from Operation Podium are investigating the allegations and have contacted the paper to request the material in order to carry out a full assessment of the allegations,” a Scotland Yard spokesman told AFP.

Operation Podium is targeting ticket touts.

The Sunday Times 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 newspaper claimed its undercover investigation had found widespread corruption among officials and agents controlling the tickets for at least 54 countries.


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