Police investigating the Olympics ticketing scandal have drawn up a list of nearly a thousand people and 30 websites across the world they suspect are involved in the multi-million pound black market trade ahead of this summer’s Games.
Officers said that known touts have made attempts to access the legitimate ticket sites and officers are working with the US authorities to stop the illegal sale of tickets online.
“We are a hostile environment. Our approach has been pre-emptive from the start using every police tactic available and working with industry to target offenders. For example, in the early days anyone who registered a domain name containing the word Olympics was contacted and warned that if they intended to sell 2012 tickets they should think again,” said Detective Superintendent Nick Downing, who is leading the investigation.
He said: “What we have uncovered shows that organised crime networks of the highest level which are known to us are involved in ticketing offences.
“This is a multi-million pound crime. We won’t know until the opening ceremony whether our action against ticket touts has worked, but what we do know is that we have taken the most robust action to keep them away.”
“The Metropolitan police here are trying to police the world and it’s a massive police and intelligence challenge. We are doing everything we can to raise public awareness and to deter criminals from getting involved in this. The national Olympic committees and foreign law enforcement agencies have to detain people and disrupt activities also,” he told The Guardian.
His team is looking at evidence, revealed by the Sunday Times last weekend, that Olympics officials were involved in the black market sale of Games tickets. Delegates in more than 50 countries – around a quarter of those taking part – were allegedly involved in the scams. In one case, the head of Greece’s Olympic Committee allegedly boasted that he persuaded Lord Coe to allocate him more tickets on the false pretext that demand had outstripped supply.
Locog deny this, saying that that tickets were allocated in accordance with the International Olympic Committee’s ticketing policy. The Hellenic Olympic Committee said the allegations were “untrue and misleading”, adding that all sales were been conducted by an agent.