Ticket-trawl­ing ty­coon re­vealed

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - Canada - TORSTAR NEWS SER­VICE

Sec­onds af­ter tick­ets for Adele’s 2016 world tour went live, the global ticket-har­vest­ing in­dus­try was al­ready in high gear.

With ro­botic ef­fi­ciency, high­tech scalpers claimed swaths of seats for the singer’s Lon­don show within min­utes. Count­less fans never had a shot.

That’s partly thanks to a 30-year-old Mon­treal ticket re­seller named Julien Lavallee who de­ployed his ticket-ac­qui­si­tion method on Adele shows, just as he has on events across North Amer­ica and the U.K.

“He’s one of the big­gest bad ac­tors that we’ve be­come aware of,” says Reg Walker, a Lon­don­based se­cu­rity con­sul­tant for artists, con­cert venues and fes­ti­vals in the U.K. “That puts him in a very, very elite class of ticket touts (scalpers).”

Lavallee’s global scalp­ing busi­ness is de­tailed in doc­u­ments leaked in the Par­adise Papers, a mas­sive cache of off­shore cor­po­ra­tion records ob­tained by the In­ter­na­tional Con­sor­tium of In­ves­tiga­tive Jour­nal­ists.

Twenty-five min­utes af­ter tick­ets went on sale for Adele’s Lon­don shows, 310 seats were un­der Lavallee’s con­trol, charged to 15 dif­fer­ent names and aliases used by Lavallee and his or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Largely un­known in Canada, Lavallee has turned a mod­est com­pany reg­is­tered to his par­ents’ Boucherville, Que., home ad­dress seven years ago into a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar em­pire.

There’s more. In a 2015 doc­u­ment filed to off­shore law firm Ap­pleby, Lavallee charts out a plan to “en­ter the United King­dom sec­ondary mar­ket with a part­ner­ship with StubHub.”

“I think if that (part­ner­ship) state­ment is true, that puts a whole dif­fer­ent di­men­sion on StubHub’s busi­ness model,” says Walker. “It very clearly im­plies a part­ner­ship be­tween a tout who we sus­pect is com­mit­ting crim­i­nal of­fences work­ing in a part­ner­ship with StubHub.”

In Au­gust, of­fi­cials with the Com­pe­ti­tion and Mar­kets Author­ity raided StubHub’s Lon­don of­fice and seized records re­lated to the com­pany’s re­la­tion­ships with ma­jor ticket touts.

“We un­der­stand the ... in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing and there­fore await the out­come,” StubHub re­sponded in a writ­ten state­ment.

Lavallee de­clined re­peated interview re­quests, but a writ­ten state­ment from his lawyer says the com­pany “car­ries out all its ac­tiv­i­ties in ac­cor­dance with the laws and rules of the ju­ris­dic­tions in which it op­er­ates and sells.”

CON­TRIB­UTED

Mon­treal ticket re­seller Julien Lavallee, whose global scalp­ing busi­ness is de­tailed in the Par­adise Papers.

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