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Posted: Saturday June 16, 2012 8:06PM ; Updated: Saturday June 16, 2012 9:00PM

IOC to investigate black market Olympic tickets

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LONDON (AP) -- The International Olympic Committee has launched an investigation into allegations that Olympic officials and agents have been offering tickets to the London Games on the black market.

The IOC called an emergency meeting of its executive board Saturday after The Sunday Times newspaper in the United Kingdom presented a dossier of evidence on 27 officials controlling the tickets for 54 countries.

The newspaper claimed several thousand tickets to the best events - including the men's 100-meter track final - had been put up for sale by national Olympic committees from their official ticket quotas at vastly inflated prices.

IOC rules forbid member national committees from selling tickets abroad, inflating ticket prices or to sell tickets to unauthorized resellers.

But the Sunday Times said its undercover reporters, posing as envoys of a Middle Eastern ticket dealer, found 27 agents willing to sell tickets for up to $9,430 to a variety of high profile events.

The IOC said in a statement on its website Saturday it "takes these allegations very seriously and has immediately taken the first steps to investigate."

"The NOCs are autonomous organizations, but if any of the cases are confirmed the IOC will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions."

The IOC also said it would take on board any recommendations from the inquiry to improve the way that tickets are distributed and sold internationally in the future.

These latest claims come after a top Ukrainian Olympic official resigned in May following allegations that he offered to sell thousands of dollars worth of tickets for the London Games on the black market.

Volodymyr Gerashchenko, secretary general of Ukraine's national Olympic committee, was accused in a BBC television report of telling an undercover reporter posing as an unauthorized dealer that he was willing to sell up to 100 tickets for cash.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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