Canadian scalper’s multimillion-dollar StubHub scheme exposed in Paradise Papers

Julien Lavallée’s ticket resale business targets high-grossing acts like Adele, Drake and Ed Sheeran

Adele's world tour sold out in record time, with scalpers buying up a big percentage of the seats. One of them was a Canadian named Julien Lavallée, who managed to vacuum up thousands of tickets in a matter of minutes. (Matt Sayles/Associated Press)

When Adele fans went online to buy tickets to the pop superstar’s world tour last year, they had no idea what exactly they were up against.

An army of tech-savvy resellers that included a little-known Canadian superscalper named Julien Lavallée managed to vacuum up thousands of tickets in a matter of minutes in one of the quickest tour sellouts in history.

The many fans who were shut out would have to pay scalpers like Lavallée a steep premium if they still wanted to see their favourite singer.

An investigation by CBC/Radio-Canada and the Toronto Star, based in part on documents found in the Paradise Papers, rips the lid off Lavallée’s multimillion-dollar operation based out of Quebec and reveals how ticket website StubHub not only enables but rewards industrial-scale scalpers who gouge fans around the world.

CBC News obtained sales records from three U.K. shows that provide unprecedented insight into the speed and scale of Lavallée’s ticket scam.

Despite a four-ticket-per-customer limit, his business snatched up 310 seats in 25 minutes, charged to 15 different names in 12 different locations.

The grand total? Nearly $52,000 worth of tickets at face value.