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Third of Sochi Budget Swindled, Says IOC Member

Published: January 16, 2014 (Issue # 1793)



  • Gian-Franco Kasper, head of the International Ski Federation, has made accusations of money being stolen from Sochi's budget despite being allegedly implicated himself.
    Photo: Thomas Lohnes / AP

An International Olympic Committee member who alleged massive theft at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games in Russia should be taken to court over the comments, a leading Russian official said Wednesday.

Gian-Franco Kasper told Swiss radio last week that he believed up to a third of Sochi's estimated $50 billion budget for the Games had been siphoned off, pointing the finger at businessmen close to the Kremlin and to President Vladimir Putin.

The comments provoked a strong response from Vladimir Yakunin, the government-appointed head of Russia's vast state-run railway company and one of the country's most powerful men. Russian Railways is also a major Olympic investor and constructor in Sochi.

"Did [Kasper] take part in this theft? Then he should be judged," Yakunin said. "If he has received some sort of materials proving it's true, then put him on the stand, but otherwise you're a slanderer and you need to be judged according to the law."

With three weeks to go before the Olympic opening ceremony in Sochi, Yakunin's remarks could cause friction between the Russian government and the IOC. As head of the International Ski Federation, Kasper is expected to attend the Games.

Kasper is not the first to allege massive corruption in the Sochi construction process. Opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, a former minister, published a report last year that claimed up to half of the budget had been stolen.

Putin has said in the past that he expects "critical remarks" about corruption, but that the issue is confined to "financial institutions" and will not affect the smooth running of the Sochi Games.

The Olympics run from February 7 to 23.

See also:

Sochi Risks Fumbling its Olympic Tourism Opportunity

A Tale of Two Olympic Cities





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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