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NME Festival blog: Ticket tout used offshore firm to avoid tax on selling Adele and Ed Sheeran tickets

Julien Lavalee avoided tax on ticket sales worth over £100,000.

A Canadian ticket tout purchased hundreds of tickets for gigs by Adele, Ed Sheeran, and Metallica within minutes of them going on sale, after establishing an offshore business in the Isle of Man to rake in profits from reselling the tickets to music fans.

Newly leaked files from the Paradise Papers reveal that tout Julien Lavalee established his business in such a way that he was able to avoid paying UK tax on ticket sales worth over £100,000.

It is technically legal to use offshore funds, but investigators believe that Lavalee may have used computer software to harvest tickets illegally.

In one instance, he was able to snap up more than £30,000 of tickets for Adele’s 2016 UK arena tour in December 2015, despite fans facing huge difficulty in doing so.

Lavallee purchased 310 tickets in just 25 minutes, using 15 names and 12 addresses across three countries.

The Guardian also claims to have seen evidence that Lavalee enjoyed close links with StubHub, who treated him as a ‘top seller’ despite receiving warnings of potential criminal activity.

Ticket bots are currently banned in the US and are in the process of being banned in the UK amid rising concern over touts pricing out normal fans.

Speaking to The Guardian, Reg Walker, director of security firm Iridium Consultancy, claimed there could be evidence to suggest that Lavalee is harvesting tickets in bulk.

“If the documents shown to us recently are accurate, there is evidence to suggest that Lavallee is committing offences to harvest tickets in bulk”, he said.

“The Iridium Consultancy warned StubHub that there was reason to suspect that Lavallee was acquiring tickets unlawfully and reselling them through their website. Over the last five years we have repeatedly called for a criminal investigation into the highly irregular relationship between ticket resale companies and touts.

“That criminal investigation is long overdue and in view of recent evidence needs to take place now in order to protect the public.”



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