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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





 


Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Apr. 17


Expocenter Eurasia at 13 Ulitsa Kapitan Voronin is the sight of Goods on the Way, a five-day event starting today showcasing the latest in the industrial products industry. Bags, backpacks, swimsuits and much, much more will be available to attendees hoping to update not only their style but their accessories for the upcoming summer.


Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway’s largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.