By Duncan Mackay

Tickets changing handsNovember 13 - A new law could be introduced in Russia in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics that means people found guilty of illegally reselling tickets could face fines of up to a million rubles (£19,000/$30,000/€24,000).

Russia's Lower House of Parliament today passed the first stage of the Bill which is designed to stop ticket touts cashing in on the Games. 

The illegal reselling of tickets is a major problem in Russia, particularly at major sports events and pop concerts. 

It follows the relative success of a crackdown during London 2012 when unauthorised selling of tickets was a crime under the Olympic Act punishable by a £20,000 ($32,000/€25,000) fine.

A total of 92 people were arrested during the Games on suspicion of ticket touting.

Among those arrested was a German who had £23,000 ($37,000/€29,000) worth of tickets for sale, including some for the Opening Ceremony that he was selling for £1,100 ($1,800/€1,400).

Sochi 2014 Olympic Stadium Opening CeremonyTickets for the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony at the "Fisht" Olympic Stadium are expected to be in huge demand

The new Bill would additionally allow the Government to regulate prices for tickets and hotel services in the Krasnodar Region from September 2012 till July 2014.

Having passed its first reading, the Bill must now through two more stages before Russian President Vladimir Putin can sign it into law.

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