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February 2, 2011

Russia’s 2014 winter Olympics construction chief resigns

MOSCOW

The head of construction for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi has resigned, two weeks before athletes arrive for the first Olympic test events, Russian news agencies reported Monday.

The state Olimpstroy corporation said its chief, Taimuraz Bolloyev, stepped down for health reasons, the reports said. No details were given, and there was no word on a successor.

The Black Sea resort of Sochi is building virtually all Olympic venues from scratch in a multi-billion-dollar project.

Originally, US$12 billion of public and private money was earmarked for Russia’s first Winter Games, but that figure is thought to have spiralled.

Bolloyev’s exit comes as Sochi organizers prepare to stage the first test events for the Games, with lower-tier Europa Cup Alpine ski races scheduled from Feb. 15-18 and Feb. 22-26.

Bolloyev was appointed in 2009 by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose backing for the games was a key factor in Sochi winning the bid. Putin mandated Bolloyev to supervise spending closely, but in November 2009 the prosecutor-general accused Olimpstroy of misusing funds, unfair tenders and unjustifiably high labour costs.

Associated Press

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