At least three employees of multimedia company Virgin Media have been sacked after it was revealed they used inside information from their positions in th e firm to place large bets on The X Factor during last year's show. A probe into the scandal concluded today, nearly six months after TellyMix first reported the news.
The trio used their access to Virgin Media's data on phone and red button voting patterns to place bets of up £16,000 on who would be eliminated from last year's X Factor live shows. The scheme was uncovered following a complaint from betting exchange Betfair to the Gambling Commission last November.
The investigation found that no personal data had been comprised nor had the actual voting in the live shows been effected by the bets being placed. "Following a multi-agency investigation led by the Gambling Commission, we are satisfied that the bets placed were substantially unfair as the individuals involved had inside information," said Nick Tofiluk, the commission's director of regulation.
"We have worked closely with all the bodies involved to ensure that those individuals do not profit from their activity and that appropriate action has been taken to prevent a recurrence of such activity in the future."
In a statement released this evening, Virgin Media said: "We take this matter extremely seriously and have been working with the Gambling Commission and Ofcom to bring this to a resolution. Following a thorough investigation, we can confirm this was an isolated incident where three individuals were found to have misused their legitimate access to internal data to identify the volume of calls being made.
"As soon as we were made aware of the allegations, we immediately suspended the individuals and all three have since been dismissed from the company. At no point was any individual customer data shared and the outcome of the phone votes was not affected."
The probe also involved telly watchdog Ofcom, who today confirmed: "Ofcom and [ITV] are confident that TV viewers did not suffer any financial harm, nor were the outcome of any shows or votes affected."