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Alhambra ticket conmen face nine years jail

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Alhambra ticket conmen face nine years jail
The Alhambra, the medieval symbol of Muslim rule in Spain, receives approximately 3 million visitors every year. Photo: Vicente Villamón
13:21 CEST+02:00
A total of 77 people are in court over their role in a €3.5 million ($4.42 million) scam involving thousands of fake tickets sold to tourists going to Granada's emblematic Alhambra Palace between 2002 and 2005.

Of the 77 people charged, 45 stand accused of fraud, Spanish news agency Europa Press reported.

Granada’s public prosecutor’s office is demanding nine years in prison and €9,000 fines for ten of the alleged offenders and four years and €2,160 fines for the other 35.

For three years, the fraud network - made up of Alhambra staff, travel agents and hotel workers – reaped the benefits of forging tickets, using old ones and carrying out other shady deals without raising the alarm.

They were able to control how many tourists had access to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and even forced tour guides and agencies that weren’t part of the fraud network to buy fake tickets off them.

The scam was made easier thanks to the backing they received from the Alhambra’s IT head and two officials responsible for the transfer and safekeeping of the tickets. 

The Alhambra, the medieval symbol of Muslim rule in Spain, receives approximately 3 million visitors every year.

The court’s latest estimates put the total number of fake tickets dished out by the fraud gang at around 50,000. 

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