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Five held over Olympic ticket fraud

Source of article: Yahoo, ITN

Five people have been arrested in connection with a fraud involving tickets for music and sports events, including the Beijing Olympics.

Thousands of Britons, including the parents of double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, paid out for tickets that never arrived, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said.

Four men aged 41, 50, 51 and and 54 and a 49-year-old woman were arrested after SFO and Metropolitan Police raids on three addresses in London.

They have been interviewed and released on unconditional bail.

Customers from more than 60 countries did not receive or get refunds after buying at least 4,000 online tickets to the Beijing Olympics and UK music festivals throughout the summer.

The V Festival, Reading Festival and Leeds Festival were among those targeted, the SFO said.

Investigators are focusing on the activities of Xclusive Tickets Limited, Xclusive Leisure & Hospitality Limited and related companies. Both of the Xclusive companies are in liquidation.

The companies entered liquidation in September 2008.

The SFO confirmed that the families of British Olympic contestants were among the victims.

Steve and Kay Adlington lost £1,100 (about 1400 Euro or USD$1600) in an internet ticket scam and nearly missed the chance of being in Beijing as their 19-year-old daughter Rebecca powered her way to two gold medals in the swimming pool.

She became the first British woman to win an Olympic swimming gold medal for 48 years when she won the 400m and 800m freestyle titles in Beijing.

Notes on Vocabulary used

arrest, arrested - if we say that the police have 'arrested' someone, it means that they have detained someone and taken them to a police station for questioning. The police arrest 'suspects', people suspected of having committed an offence. If someone is 'arrested' it means they must go with the police and the police can use force if necessary.

Briton - a Briton is a person who is British, i.e. they were born in Britain, or otherwise consider themselves British.

double Olympics champion - a person who has won two races or other competitive events in an Olympic Games.

Metropolitan Police - the official name of the London police, also known as "Scotland Yard".

three addresses in London - three houses, offices or other properties in London. In general, an "address" can be either what is written on an envelope saying where the postman should deliver the envelope or, as in this case, "address" can mean the actual physical location. In other contexts, e.g. "Barak Obama gave an address to the United Nations", address means that the person spoke in a formal way to a group or conference or gave a lecture or speech. Similarly, the verb "to address" could mean "to write the address on an envelope" or it could mean to give a speech, depending on context.

released on unconditional bail - set free by the police without any conditions such as a security payment.

refund - a refund is the return of money paid. Money is normally refunded to customers when the business is not able to supply the things ordered and paid for.

in liquidation - when a company goes into liquidation it is closed down and any assets or property that it owns is sold to raise money. The money is then paid out to people who have lost money with that firm or company.

contestant - a person who takes part in a contest such as a race, a quiz or other competition.

£ - the 'pound' is the British currency, sometimes abbreviated to 'GBP'.

1,100 - note that in most English-speaking contexts, the full-stop or period is used as the decimal point and the comma is used to mark off the thousands. This is the opposite of what is done in many other countries. Thus 1,234 in English contexts means one-thousand-two-hundred-and-thirty-four.

scam - a scam is cheating people by promising something, getting their money and then not supplying the things that were promised. 'Scam' is an informal word; 'fraud' is a more formal equivalent word.

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