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The surprise legal action has met with scorn from Kilimanjaro Live, which calls it a "transparent attempt to deflect attention away" from the site's own problems
By Jon Chapple on 04 Sep 2018
After years of silence – and ahead of a much-anticipated appearance at the UK parliament tomorrow – notoriously reclusive secondary ticketing platform Viagogo has gone on the warpath, announcing it is suing Kilimanjaro Live and CEO Stuart Galbraith for what it calls “multimillion-pound fraud” over the cancellation of resold tickets for Ed Sheeran’s recent UK tour.
Kilimanjaro, which co-promoted Ed Sheeran’s ÷ tour stadium run with DHP Family and AEG Presents, cancelled around 10,000 tickets last summer after Viagogo refused a request from Sheeran’s team not to list the tickets for resale. Seatwave, Get Me In! and StubHub all complied, while tickets on Viagogo were resold for up to £4,000.
In an extraordinary, personal attack-littered news release issued today by Viagogo’s long-dormant press office, the company says it has begun court proceedings against Galbraith and Kilimanjaro Live Ltd.
“All tickets on Viagogo are authentic,” says a Viagogo spokesperson. “Stuart Galbraith set up fake Viagogo booths at venues and conned our customers into believing that their tickets wouldn’t work. He confiscated their legitimate tickets and pocketed millions of pounds by forcing fans to buy new ones.”
The promoter, however, suggests the timing of the lawsuit is an attempt to detract attention away from tomorrow’s hearing, which Galbraith will also attend.
“Kilimanjaro will defend against this action vigorously and look forward to doing so in court”
In a statement , Kilimanjaro says: “The claims made today by Viagogo are ludicrous, laughable and, most importantly, totally false. This is a transparent attempt to deflect attention away from their upcoming appearance at the DCMS inquiry and the wide-ranging criticisms, multiple legal prosecutions in many territories, including by the Competitions and Markets Authority [CMA] in the UK, and condemnation of their business practices.
“Kilimanjaro will defend against this action vigorously and look forward to doing so in court.”
Viagogo, headquartered in Geneva, will send Cristopher Miller, its head of business development, to tomorrow’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee oral evidence session, part of the parliamentary committee’s ongoing inquiry into the benefits of, and threats to, live music. Viagogo controversially snubbed a previous hearing, last March, leading committee member Nigel Huddleston MP to decry its “lack of respect to parliament and, by extension, the British public”.
The court action was filed in Germany, home of Kilimanjaro’s parent company, Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG), despite the fact neither Kili nor DEAG promoted Sheeran’s German dates. Viagogo has also set up a Twitter account, @viagogopress, apparently to document the progress of the lawsuit.
The CMA lawsuit was launched in the UK’s High Court last week as a result of Viagogo’s continued failure to “overhaul the way [it does] business”, adding to existing uits and regulatory actions elsewhere in Europe and Australasia.
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