Israel’s official ticket seller for London’s upcoming Olympic games was one of 27 agents caught selling seats for several times their list price, Britain’s Sunday Times reported early Sunday.
The Sunday Times carried out a two month investigation into ticket sellers breaching rules, leading the International Olympic Committee to form an inquiry over the matter.
Agents representing 54 countries were caught in the sting, including Israel, Greece, China, Serbia and Lithuania. Sunday Times reporters posed as representatives of a Middle Eastern ticket dealer.
According to the report, Yoav Bruck, who runs Issta Sport, the sole authorized ticket seller for Olympic events for Israel and Cyprus, was caught trying to sell journalists 525 tickets for 66,000 pounds.
The Sunday Times reported that tickets were siphoned from National Olympic Committee supplies and sold to the highest bidder, sometimes at 10 times their list price.
IOC rules forbid member national committees from selling tickets abroad, inflating ticket prices or to sell tickets to unauthorized resellers.
Bruck, originally from Lachish, swam in the Olympics for Israel in the 1992 games.
Following the report, the IOC said it would move quickly to deal with the scandal.
“After claims that several NOCs [National Olympic Committees] and ATRs [authorised ticket resellers] were reportedly willing to break the rules by offering to buy or sell tickets outside their territory, sell tickets at inflated prices, or sell tickets to unauthorised resellers, the IOC has ordered an immediate inquiry and referred the allegations to its independent ethics commission,” it said.
“The IOC takes these allegations very seriously and has immediately taken the first steps to investigate. Should any irregularities be proven, the organisation will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner. The NOCs are autonomous organisations, but if any of the cases are confirmed the IOC will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions.”
The IOC also said it would take on board any recommendations from the inquiry to improve the way that tickets are distributed and sold internationally in the future.
These latest claims come after a top Ukrainian Olympic official resigned in May following allegations that he offered to sell thousands of dollars worth of tickets for the London Games on the black market.
Volodymyr Gerashchenko, secretary general of Ukraine’s national Olympic committee, was accused in a BBC television report of telling an undercover reporter, posing as an unauthorized dealer, that he was willing to sell up to 100 tickets for cash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.