Ukraine Olympic chief filmed offering to sell thousand pounds worth of Olympics tickets on black market


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The Independent Online

The General Secretary of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee has been filmed offering to sell several thousand pounds worth of Olympics tickets to an undercover reporter posing as a ticket tout.

Volodymyr Gerashchenko, who has been head of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee since 1997, told the reporter from BBC London News he had up to 100 tickets to sell.

It is a criminal offence under The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act to sell tickets to London 2012 on the black market, punishable with a fine of up to £20,000 for each offence.

BBC London News said it was tipped off that someone from Ukraine’s national Olympic committee would be prepared to sell tickets on the black market. Strict rules applying to non-European Union countries clearly state that tickets can only be sold to residents within that country, to stop tickets entering the black market.

In a film broadcast this evening, Mr Geraschenko was filmed telling a reporter posing as an unauthorised UK ticket dealer: “I understand you’re a dealer – that’s why for me, you are priority number one, the top, the person, in case we have extra tickets to contact you, we contact you”

It is Mr Geraschenko’s job, as head of his country’s NOC, to distribute Ukraine’s allocation of tickets among dignitaries, and through sales to the general public. After this process has finished, he said he would be prepared to sell up to 100 spare tickets. Asked by the undercover journalist if payment could be made by bank transfer he replied: “If think it is when it comes, better cash. Possible?... Better cash and finished with it. I hope to arrive July 10”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Podium, specifically set up to deal with serious and organised crime affecting the Olympics, said: “We have made contact with BBC London as we would like to see all of the material which they have so that we can carry out a full assessment of it. Until we have seen this it is difficult for us to comment further.

The safest way for the public to purchase tickets for the Olympic and Paralympic Games is from the London 2012 website. If you buy from an unofficial site or from a tout, you risk paying over the odds for a ticket that may not exist, may not be genuine and you risk not getting to see the Games. Your personal details could even be used in other crimes.”

Mr Gerashchenko has since claimed he had “never planned to sell tickets in the UK” and had been making “diplomatic talk to satisfy the persistent interest of the ticket dealer”.

The London 2012 Organising Committee have also asked the BBC to provide evidence before investigating.

A spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee said: "We take these allegations very seriously. If proven we will not hesitate to impose tough sanctions."