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Olympic Chiefs Investigate Report of Black-Market Ticket Sales

June 17 (Bloomberg) -- The International Olympic Committee started an investigation after a newspaper said officials and agents are selling black-market tickets for the London games at up to 10 times face value.

The U.K.’s Sunday Times said there’s “widespread corruption” involving tickets for 54 countries at the games, which start July 27. Thousands of the best seats, including marquee events such as the 100-meter final, have been “siphoned off” from official supplies held by national Olympic committees, the newspaper said.

Undercover reporters found 27 officials and agents were willing to take part in black-market transactions, the Sunday Times reported. In one instance, 1,500 tickets to events including the opening and closing ceremonies were offered for 80,000 pounds ($125,000) in cash, it added.

The IOC said it’s taking “decisive action” on the matter after holding an extraordinary meeting of its executive board. It’s ordered an immediate inquiry and referred the allegations to its independent ethics commission, it said in a statement.

“Should any irregularities be proven, the organization will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner,” the IOC said. “The national Olympic committees are autonomous organizations, but if any of the cases are confirmed the IOC will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions.”

The London organizing committee said it would support the IOC investigation in any way it can.

“None of the tickets in question came from the allocation to the British public,” it said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at phegarty@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at at celser@bloomberg.net

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