June 28, 2010 / 7:21 PM / 10 years ago

Evidence of Russian "corruption" over 2010 preparations

OZERO KRUGLOYE, Russia (Reuters) - Officials have discovered evidence of corruption in Russia’s $100 million preparations for this year’s Winter Olympics, they said on Monday.

Russia was 11th in the medals table in Vancouver in February with three golds, the nation’s worst-ever performance and less than half the number of titles it won in the previous edition despite spending five times as much money.

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a probe after the Games into how the 3.3 billion roubles ($106.4 million) budget for the team’s preparations had been spent and told top Olympic officials and federation heads to resign.

The Audit Chamber, the financial watchdog which prepared a report, said in a statement preparations were “inefficient, imperfect and involved corruption.”

“There were financial violations, they will be a subject of investigation by law enforcement agencies,” president of Russia’s Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov told reporters after the report was presented to senior government officials.

The report criticized a number of uncompetitive tenders and said intermediary firms charged millions of roubles without providing any value.

It also said there was no single organization coordinating the many state bodies involved.

The Russian hosts plan to spend 950 billion roubles on preparations for the 2014 Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a keen skier who sees the 2014 edition as his personal project, attended the presentation of the report but did not comment on the results.

Writing by Gleb Bryanski and Conor Humphries, editing by Tony Jimenez

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