Brazil police bust black-market ticket ring for Rio Olympics

Tue Apr 5, 2016 2:52pm EDT
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian police broke up a black-market ring that tried to illegally sell over 700 Olympic tickets at exorbitant prices, authorities said Tuesday.

Rio's police, with the help of the local Olympic committee, busted 10 people involved in the scam.

The suspects bought the tickets legally, then used social media sites in an attempt to illegally resell them, said Donovan Ferreti, head of ticket sales for Rio 2016, as the local committee is known.

"In one case, a ticket was sold for 10 times the original price from our site," Ferreti said. The illegally sold tickets had been blocked and cannot be used, he added.

Ferreti would not detail the sales prices of the illegal tickets, nor the events that they were for, but did say they were for sports that were in "high demand."

Olympic ticket prices range from 40 Brazilian reais ($10.89) for some events to up to 4,600 reais for the opening ceremony.

Ticket sales for Rio's Olympics have been slow, though organizers have repeatedly expressed optimism and stressed that Brazilians tend to buy tickets for sporting and entertainment events at the last minute.

Ferreti said that over half of the 7.5 million tickets have been sold, with just four months left before the Olympics begin on Aug. 5.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier and Caio Saad; Editing by Leslie Adler)

The Olympic Flag flies in front of "Christ the Redeemer" statue during a blessing ceremony in Rio de Janeiro August 19, 2012.  REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes