Six ticket resellers have been charged with money laundering and breaches of consumer law by the National Trading Standards in a landmark prosecution that could heavily impact touts.
The defendants allegedly made more than £10m in total by harvesting tickets in bulk and selling them on through resale websites.
Timothy Connor, his girlfriend Francesca Armstrong and parents Andrew Connor and Vachirawan Connor, all of Surrey, are alleged to have used multiple names, addresses and credit cards as well as “sophisticated browser software” to obtain and sell tickets.
Connoco, the defendants’ company, allegedly spent £2.3m on tickets between June 2015 and December 2017 and sold them on for £4.5m, notching a paper profit of £2.2m.
The group was arrested in 2017 during the NTS investigation into ticketing resale and touting and at a hearing at York magistrates court, the defendants indicated they would enter a not guilty plea, according to the Guardian newspaper.
In addition, prosecutors have claimed that London’s Peter Hunter and David Smith put tickets up for resale more than 21,000 times between June 2015 and February 2018.
BZZ, the pair’s company, allegedly purchased more than £4m worth of tickets and resold them on for more than £10.8m.
The two men, who were arrested last year, have also said in court that they will not plead guilty.
The court in York heard that the six accused would be tried alongside a third group of defendants facing the same charges. Maria Chenery-Woods, Mark Woods and Linda Chenery, of TQ Limited, trading as Ticket Queen, were arrested last year.
The resale websites the defendants were alleged to have used were not mentioned, though the judge reportedly said NTS’s case “seems to be as much about Viagogo (a ticket resale website) as anything else”.