PtG Article 31.05.2013

Report: Half of Sochi's Olympic budget spent on corruption

Up to $ 30 billion has been stolen from the budget of the Sochi Winter Olympics, argues Russian opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, in a new report released yesterday.

In the report, Nemtsov and co-author Leonid Martynyuk, another Putin critic, argue that the sports facilities constructed for the Games were commissioned without competition or public tenders.

"Only oligarchs and companies close to Putin got rich," Nemtsov writes on his blog. "The absence of fair competition, cronyism... have led to a sharp increase in the costs and to the poor quality of the work to prepare for the Games”, quotes NBC News.

The report has compared the price for the previous Winter Olympic Games and found that, on average, the price ended up being around the double of what was originally planned. In Sochi, the Russians face a price four times higher than initially expected.

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics is therefore expected to be the most expensive Olympics in history, facing cost overruns that have pushed the expenditures up from the proposed budget of $ 12 billion to an estimated $ 50 billion.

“The overall size of embezzlement amounts to around $25 billion to $30 billion, or 50 to 60 percent of the final cost announced for the Olympics,” writes the report according to Around the Rings.

The report does not provide specific details of which construction project the money was stolen from: 

"The fact is that almost everything that is related to the cost problems and abuses in preparation for the Olympic Games was carefully concealed and continues to be covered up by the authorities," Nemtsov writes on his blog according to NBC News.

Nemtsov is a long-time critic of both Putin and the Sochi Games, he is also a Sochi native and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in the city in 2009.

The full report is published (in Russian) on Boris Nemtsov’s blog

SOURCES: NBC News, Around the Rings,