Eiffel Tower Employees in Ticket Scandal
Wednesday 01 August 2007
The fraud was carried out over the period 1996 to 2002 and was only uncovered as a result of a tip-off to the Tower operator by a seasonal employee.
This led to an investigation into all 27 of the staff working in the ticket office, with charges finally brought against 15 of them.
The fraud worked by a cashier ordering from the ticket machine more tickets than were being requested by a visitor, and then interrupting the whole process without the full sale value being recorded in the accounting system.
They could then sell on to the next customer the surplus tickets they had produced. It is believed that over 100,000 fraudulent sales were carried out.
The court learned that the cashiers were able to perpetrate the fraud because of weaknesses in the computer systems.
The lack of parity between tickets produced and sales revenues was explained by a technical problem with the ticket system.
During the court proceedings, the former employees were unable to explain satisfactorily how they managed to live without withdrawing funds from their bank account, whilst others were unable to give a clear explanation of sums deposited in their bank account.
The court gave suspended prison sentences to those involved, who were also ordered to repay the sum stolen in the fraud.
The Eiffel Tower receives around 6 million visitors a year, who each pay around €11.50 for the experience.