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Ticket corruption claims probed
A probe is under way into claims of corruption among foreign agents and officials supplying tickets to the London Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee is threatening a shake-up of the way Olympic tickets are distributed among its member countries after a Sunday Times investigation suggested officials were offering thousands of top tickets on the black market.
London Olympics chief Lord Coe was dragged into the row after the newspaper secretly filmed Greek national Olympic committee president Spyros Caprolos claiming he had successfully lobbied him for more premium Olympic tickets on Greece's behalf. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) has denied the claims.
Senior politician Sir Menzies Campbell - a member of the Olympic Board which helps oversee London 2012 - called for offending countries to lose future allocations of tickets. He told the BBC: "The sanctions should be not just that the tickets get cancelled for this Olympic Games but that tickets are not awarded on future occasions."
The Sunday Times newspaper has presented a dossier of evidence on agents and officials controlling the tickets for 54 countries. Thousands of the best seats at the top events - including the 100m final - were up for sale after being siphoned off from official supplies held by overseas national Olympic committees (NOCs), the newspaper said.
National Olympic committees are forbidden to sell their tickets abroad or to anyone who plans to resell them. But The Sunday Times said undercover reporters posing as envoys of a Middle Eastern ticket tout found 27 officials and agents who were willing to do business.
According to the paper, these included one country's official ticket agency which it claimed offered category AA tickets, the best seats in the stadiums, to the fake Middle Eastern tout for up to £6,000 each.
An IOC statement read: "The International Olympic Committee has moved quickly to deal with allegations that some National Olympic Committees and Authorised Ticket Resellers (ATR) have broken rules relating to the sale of Olympic tickets.
"After claims that several NOCs and ATRs 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."
Regarding the evidence against Mr Caprolos, Locog said in a statement: "Seb received a letter from the Greek Olympic Committee (HOC), as he did from other NOCs, and responded saying that tickets had been allocated in accordance with the IOC's ticketing policy. There was no further contact - either formal or informal - on this subject."