A Sun-Herald investigation has pinpointed a regular in the Australia poker scene as the lead in a 2014 World Cup in Brazil ticketing scam — Alain “Frenchie” Barataud (pictured second from left).
Sun-Herald senior investigative writer Eamonn Duff reports that Barataud has been involved in various ticket scams, one that goes back to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and the latest where he promised Sergio Silva and his nine-year-old son Tiago that they would have World Cup tickets to the final at Macarana Stadium. The Australian family ended up in Rio and were left stranded after a 'no-show' from Barataud. The tickets were a sham that cost Silva tens of thousands of dollars.
"I turned to my son and explained our worst fears had been realized ... that Alain would not be turning up with our tickets ... he wept. My father was with us. He cried also. All our dreams – broken,” Silva explained. "He told me ‘Your family and my family will share VIP seats, I know of a great place in Buzio where we will all stay beforehand. We’ll share this amazing experience together.’’
Using a counterfeit invoice by posing as a FIFA hospitality agent, Barataud, a father of five, talked Silva into purchasing the fake tickets and making the trip to Brazil. Barataud did not arrive at the prearranged meeting place. According to the Sun-Herald, a “FIFA spokesman confirmed Barataud was neither an official agent of FIFA nor an agent or sub-agent of any associated organizations."
Such swindles are not new to Barataud according to the Sun-Herald. Barataud faced legal action in 2006 after selling World Cup tickets to Corporate Events Unlimited at a price of $211,000, he never delivered the tickets. Then Barataud struck another sham deal in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when he sold a fake accommodation package for $60,000 to a Sydney family. The investigative piece has more incidents listed in which Barataud swindled companies and individuals.
Barataud has denied he ever claimed to be FIFA accredited. Perhaps he is practicing his poker face with that denial since he has poker tournament cashes in Australia that date back to 2010. In May of 2012 he topped a field of 64 players and won the A$330 Weekly Wednesday No-Limit Hold’em tournament for A$6,240 in Sydney at The Star Casino Recurring Tournaments. He made it to Las Vegas in July of 2013 to the Venetian’s Deepstack Extravaganza III and took 38th in a $1,100 No Limit Hold’em event for $2,269.
The investigation of the allegation against Barataud will be continued by the New South Wales police.
Image courtesy of pokermedia.com.au.