Firm of ex-Olympic boss faces probe

Updated: Feb 27, 2013, 12:42 PM IST

Moscow: Russian prosecutors are investigating the possible misuse of government funds at a firm run by an official criticised by President Vladimir Putin for the mismanagement of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics facilities.

Akhmed Bilalov was publicly censured by Putin earlier this month over delays and cost overruns during his time in charge of the Sochi ski jump complex. Bilalov had already left his Sochi role and has resigned as vice president of the Russian Olympic Committee. He remains chairman of state-run Northern Caucasus Resorts, which manages holiday resorts in the southern mountain range, despite vows from Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak that he would be fired.

The investigation involves staff from multiple government agencies and is "a planned inspection of the targeted use of budget funds at the Northern Caucasus Resorts joint-stock company," said Marina Gridneva, spokesperson for the prosecutor general`s office.

In addition to prosecutors, representatives from the FSB security service, the police and the Rosfinnadzor state audit agency are all working on the case, she said. Such inter-agency cooperation suggests a large-scale probe. Gridneva did not specify any specific targets of the investigation nor provide any reason for the probe.

Company spokeswoman Anna Isaeva said Tuesday`s development had not come as a surprise because staff from another federal agency, the Audit Chamber, had been at the company "for several months already" before prosecutors arrived Tuesday. The Audit Chamber said Tuesday its investigation was running from December 2012 to March 2013.

At least for now, Bilalov retains a job related to the Olympics, as president of the Russian Golf Association. Golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 at the next Games, in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.