Ticketmaster was aware of firm’s re-selling, defendant tells touting trial

The ticket-selling firm Ticketmaster was well aware that a touting company was re-selling tickets on secondary ticketing websites, a woman accused of fraudulent trading has told a jury.

Lynda Chenery is on trial in relation to her involvement in her sister Maria Chenery-Woods’s company TQ Tickets Ltd, which sold more than £6.5 million of tickets on secondary ticketing sites in two-and-a-half years.

Leeds Crown Court has heard the firm used multiple identities, some of which were fake, to buy large numbers of tickets for artists such as Ed Sheeran and Little Mix on primary sites, including Ticketmaster, before re-selling them on secondary ticketing platforms such as Viagogo.

She and Paul Douglas, who referred to himself as Ticket Boy, have pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading.

But Chenery, who was married to Douglas at the time of the alleged offences, denies the charges along with Chenery-Woods’s husband, Mark Woods.

When she gave evidence in her defence on Thursday, Chenery said: “They (Ticketmaster) knew she (Chenery-Woods) re-sold tickets”.

Her barrister, Matthew Radstone, asked her: “Ticketmaster knew what was going on in terms of purchasing tickets?”

Chenery said: “I have no doubt in my mind about that.”

She told the jury: “It was clear from conversations I have had in the office and with Maria that they were definitely aware.”

The defendant said that she understood that Ticketmaster also owned some of the secondary ticketing sites at that time and “incentivised” her sister because she was a “classed as a top seller or broker”.

As she began giving evidence on Thursday, Chenery explained how she did some book-keeping work for her sister’s firm.

Mr Radstone, asked her: “Did you think you were acting dishonestly?”

She replied: “No”.

Mr Radstone said: “Did you believe that TQ was a company that was perpetrating a fraud?”

Chenery replied: “No”.

And Mr Radstone asked her: “Did that ever come into your mind?

She said: “No”.

Chenery said she got on well with her sister and did a couple of hours’ book-keeping work for her a week while working for the firm Bounty.

She said she agreed to her sister’s request to become TQ’s company secretary but said Chenery-Woods told her that she “didn’t need to do anything”.

Asked by Mr Radstone if she actually performed any duties as company secretary, she replied: “Never”.

Chenery admitted that she would process credit card bills for a number of people who let TQ use their cards to buy tickets.

Mr Radstone asked his client: “Did any credit card holder whose credit card was used by TQ ever complain to you that their card was being misused in any way?”

She said: “Absolutely not”.

Chenery told the jury she and Douglas are now divorced and not in contact.

Chenery, 51, and Woods, 59, both of Dickleburgh, near Diss, Norfolk, deny three counts of fraudulent trading.

Prosecutors have said that TQ Tickets Ltd was motivated by “greed and dishonesty” when it “exploited the love and passion” of music lovers.

Woods told the jury that TQ Tickets Ltd was an “obsession” for his wife, telling jurors: “She became completely obsessed. It took priority over me, the family, and it caused conflict.”

Earlier this week, Woods told a court he believed there was “nothing untoward” about his wife’s business.

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