Barcelona, Oct 26 (IANS) Spain’s civil guard police force raided the premises of nine companies on Friday and arrested 10 people in a crackdown on a gang that allegedly made a vast profit from selling fake tickets to a Barcelona vs Real Madrid Clásico.
Sources close to the case told Efe that the operation was ordered by Judge Joaquin Aguirre in Barcelona following a complaint filed by the Prosecutor’s Office after detecting 2,822 fake attempted entries to the Barça match against Real Madrid at the Catalan club’s Camp Nou Stadium on May 6.
The investigation uncovered a network of nine companies, including some based in Barcelona, which supposedly sold forged tickets for the Clásico and made a 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million) profit.
Friday’s raids were launched two days ahead of another Clásico clash between Barça and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou and investigators searched the offices of the companies allegedly involved, arresting 10 managers as suspects.
The tickets for the May 6 match were forged using official Barcelona membership cards which had been made available to the suspects in exchange for money.
The forgers then used the QR codes on the cards to print forged tickets which were re-sold at a vast profit.
The forged tickets were detected on entry to the stadium.
Given that the forgery had caused Barça a huge loss, the club sanctioned the members who had provided the suspects with access to their membership cards, suspending some of them and expelling 33 others who had been caught doing this before.
A total of 525 of the penalized members filed a class action in court against the sanctions imposed by the club, but the court dismissed their cases.