The Tout Who Never Was

Terry Shepherd and two others involved in British company Xclusive Leisure & Hospitality Ltd. have been found guilty of fraud by a High Court Judge presiding over a civil case.

Shepherd, Allan Scott and Petrus van Meer claimed they failed to deliver thousands of tickets for the Beijing Olympics because a supplier called Ricky Smith of Peter’s Tickets let them down and subsequently disappeared.

Hearing the case in London March 10, Mr. Justice Tugendhat said he believed the defendants merely “invented” Smith. Tugendhat doubted they ever had any Olympics tickets to sell.

He ordered them to pay $500,000 costs to Wisecard Ltd. after the court heard how about 4,000 people bought tickets for the Beijing Games but never received them.

One of the victims of the $3 million fraud was Kay Adlington, mother of Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

The judge said Shepherd controlled Xclusive, although he had good reason for not wanting to be seen to be doing so because he was already barred from running any company.

In February Scott – recorded as the sole director of the Xclusive companies – told their creditors’ meeting that he employed Shepherd as a consultant because he’s “the best in the world at what he does.”

Asked whether he was fronting for others who actually controlled the Xclusive companies, Scott told the meeting: “I can’t answer that question. I can just give you an assurance that I’m not a front guy for anybody.”

Shepherd has previously been linked to a flock of online ticket companies including Xclusive, which is still the subject of a Serious Fraud Office investigation.

In 2008, Xclusive Leisure & Hospitality Limited and Xclusive Tickets Limited – which were formed in mid-2006 – were liquidated after selling more than $6 million worth of Beijing Olympics tickets and failing to deliver any of them.