Stansted Aiport: �64,000 cash seizure from man involved in illegal sale of Premier League football tickets

A NORWEGIAN man involved in the illegal sale of tickets to Premier League football matches has been forced to forfeit �64,000 worth of cash which he was carrying on him when he landed at Stansted Airport earlier this year.

Pal Storaas, 39, was stopped by UK Border Agency officers when he arrived on a flight from Oslo on April 27.

When asked if he was carrying any cash he declared �64,300 and said that he was planning to buy tickets for Premier League matches which he then intended to sell on.

The unauthorised sale of football tickets is an offence under Section 166 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

He told officers that he owned an events company in Norway, Eventservice, which provides package holidays, including tickets for concerts, shows and football matches.

When asked if he had brought any other quantities of cash into the UK, Storaas claimed that he had visited six months earlier and had only carried �20,000.

However, checks with the Norwegian authorities revealed that since February 2009, he had declared �490,000 on various trips to the UK.

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The inconsistencies in Storaas’ story led officers to detain the cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Subsequent inquiries revealed that Storaas had two season tickets with Arsenal and that he was not authorised by the club to sell tickets to third parties.

Police monitored Storaas’ seats for the first two home games of the current season and discovered that two different Norwegian couples used them. They confirmed that they had bought the tickets from Storaas’ company website. The price they paid far exceeded the cost of a valid ticket.

Storaas did not contest the case for forfeiture at a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on November 11.

Senior investigating officer John Chelchowski, from the UK Border Agency’s Criminal and Financial Investigations Team, said: “Interest in the Premier League remains immense. Thousands of people attend matches every weekend and millions more around the world tune in to watch the games on television.

“Storaas was taking advantage of that global popularity by buying valid tickets and illegally selling them on at inflated prices, making a handsome profit for himself in the process.

“UK Border Agency officers are working hard at all our ports to prevent drugs, contraband or the potential proceeds of crime from entering or leaving the UK.

“Where we suspect that cash may be linked with criminal activity, we have the power to seize it. If, as in this case, the individual concerned is unable to provide evidence of the legal source and intended use of the money, the cash will be forfeited.”

Anyone entering or leaving the UK with more than �1000 in cash must provide evidence for the source and intended use of the money or face having it detained.

Following court orders any money detained is held for up to six months at a time while investigations are under way. It may then be ordered as forfeit and returned to the public purse if shown to be associated with criminal activity.