By Duncan Mackay

Denis Oswald_with_Sebastian_Coe_at_London_2012_CoComJune 17 - Any official found guilty of selling tickets on the black market should be banned from the Olympic Movement, claims Denis Oswald (pictured left), the head of the London 2012 Coordination Commission. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last night launched an investigation after the Sunday Times claimed that 27 officials and agents, representing 54 countries, were prepared to breach strict regulations on ticket sales for London 2012. 

"These people should no longer belong to the Olympic Movement," said Oswald.

The most high-profile official caught up in the allegations is Greece's Spyros Capralos, the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, who was caught on camera boasting how he had "pulled strings" with London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe to allocate his country more top tickets to the Games that he could sell on for a profit.

Sunday Times_front_page

The only member of the IOC named in the Sunday Times report is Nicole Hoevertsz, the secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Aruba, who allegedly directed the undercover reporters towards Greg Harney, the director of international business for Cartan Tours, who are the authorised ticket resellers for 40 countries.

Harney, formerly a senior executive at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), including being managing director of the Games and Organisational Support Division, allegedly told the undercover reporters how to conceal an illegal ticket sale.

Other senior officials facing an investigation after the IOC's ruling Executive Board referred the allegations to its Ethics Commission is Djordje Visacki (pictured), a former rower who competed at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and is now the secretary general of the Serbian Olympic Committee, who allegedly offered to sell the Sunday Times reporters 1,500 tickets for £80,000 ($126,000/€99,000) in cash.

Djordje Visacki_at_podium
Oswald, who participated in last night's emergency IOC meeting via conference call, suspects there will have been similar cases at every previous Olympic Games but never a scandal on this scale.

"We will ask for the documents and the tapes, whatever is existing from the Sunday Times," said the Swiss lawyer, who is also the President of the World Rowing Federation, FISA.

"If this is confirmed then sanctions must be taken.

"For me [banning them from distributing tickets in the future] would not be enough.

"These people should no longer belong to the Olympic Movement.

"People were aware they were breaking the rules.

"It is why it is very serious, especially people in situations where they have responsibilities for their own national sport and are prepared to break the rules.

"There are probably differences between the different cases and you cannot treat everybody the same.

"But, depending on the result of the inquiry, there could be a sanction that people are no longer accepted in the Olympic Movement and therefore they should have no link with sport in their own country."

Yoav Bruck, a former Olympic swimmer, who is authorised to sell tickets in Israel and Cyprus, is accused of offering to sell reporters 525 top seats for £66,000 ($104,000/€82,000).

"The report is swamped with untruths, lies and inventions that cry to the heavens," he told Israel's Channel 2 television station.

"I am saying that we are clean...we are not selling anything we are not allowed to."

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