Euroteam, an online ticket trader based out of Oslo, Norway, has recently come under severe scrutiny following its selling of what some groups have called “unauthorized” tickets for the recent London Games. According to the company’s official website, Euroteam has “suffered overwhelming challenges during the London Olympics 2012,” and is now facing bankruptcy.
The company originally sold 20,000 tickets for the Olympic games via the internet, using 12 different websites including [londonsummergames.org] and [euroteamtickets.com]. Only 5,000 of the purchased tickets were actually delivered to buyers according to the European Consumer Centre in Norway. Euroteam is under current investigation by Britain’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Police in Norway seized 455 of the tickets sold by Euroteam, according to Jan Fredrick Senum, a representative of the Romerike Police District in Norway. These tickets were confiscated en route to their buyers on suspicion of fraud, and investigators have alleged that many were illegally obtained by Euroteam.
According to Gerhard Heiberg, a member of the IOC, the committee believes that some of the tickets came “from two countries in eastern Europe.” The IOC reportedly believes that representatives from some eastern European Olympic committees sold the tickets that they had been issued for a profit, possibly to Euroteam for resale, something that Heiberg said is “strictly forbidden” and a “scandal.” Senum told reporters that “the charges of serious fraud are filed because the IOC has said the tickets can’t be used by anyone other than those to whom they were issued.”
The UK High Court reportedly ruled that Euroteam and its affiliates misled consumers by failing to make clear that they were unauthorized by the London Games or the IOC to sell Olympic Tickets. Alex Sola, a representative of Euroteam, told a Norwegian reporter that “Euroteam’s website clearly stated that ‘we are not in any way affiliated with the official organizers, event, team or any official box office’ for any event sold on the site.” Euroteam has vehemently denied that any crimes were committed. Ticket scalping is not illegal in Norway, and the company insists that all customers would have received their purchased tickets, had they not been seized during the police investigation.
Euroteam’s owner, Atle Barlaup, called Olympic officials a “mafia” who used “all their resources to protect their own economic interests.” According to the Euroteam website, the actions of the IOC and the London Olympics were “done solely to harm a legally operating company in the interest of protecting the financial interest of the private organization IOC.”
Following the investigation by Britain’s OFT, Euroteam’s director, Andreas Gyrre, made a deal in court vowing to provide a refund to customers who either did not receive tickets or were denied entry into Olympic events. The court deal allowed Euroteam to resume the use of their websites which had been shut down during police investigation. In addition to refunding ticket buyers with valid complaints, Euroteam was also fined 175,000 euros amidst other probable litigation fees.
Euroteam is now contacting creditors for debt negotiations, but the company doesn’t seem to have much hope of staying afloat. Legal battles continue, and according to Euroteam, the company will most likely “not be able to survive the massive costs the damages have caused unless creditors are willing to accept reduced cover of their claims — or wait for the results of coming lawsuits.”