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Irishman arrested and jailed in Rio for scalping Olympics tickets

Tickets seized at the Next Flat hotel in Barra da Tijuca. Photo: Screengrab/GloboRio de Janeiro: An Irishman is in custody, his passport confiscated, after being arrested at a Rio hotel accused of illegally selling Olympic VIP tickets.
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The man, named in local media reports as Kevin James Marlen, was attempting to sell sought-after tickets and accreditations to Friday’s opening ceremony at Maracana stadium at much higher prices than prescribed.

The man was arrested at his hotel in Barra da Tijuca, in the vicinity of Olympic Park, in possession of the tickets. He was jailed under preventative orders of a magistrate in a special court for mega events. His laptop, phone and other possessions, including his passport, were seized.

Sales of VIP hospitality tickets were sluggish in the lead up to the Games.

Some 61,000 such packages – about one per cent of all tickets – were made available only through the official seller, Latam Travel. The packages included tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies, special seating at select sports, food and drinks.

A package with tickets to the opening ceremony and the final of the men’s soccer cost approximately $4000 reais ($1650).

It is understood VIP packages would be made available to the general public through official channels but without VIP benefits, at lower prices if not sold in time.

It is unclear how much the man was asking for the tickets or whether they included other events.

Police said potential clients present at the hotel at the time of his arrest were helping with the investigation.

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