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© RIA Novosti. Grigory Syisoev

Ex-Olympic boss blasted by Putin leaves Russia - source

by R-Sport at 06/03/2013 12:53

An official criticized by President Vladimir Putin for the mismanagement of Sochi 2014 Olympic facilities has left Russia after prosecutors initiated a probe of his firm, a person with knowledge of the situation told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

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 has left his Sochi 2014 role and has since resigned as vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee.

 It is unclear if he is still the chairman of state-run Northern Caucasus Resorts that manages holiday resorts in the southern mountain range. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak vowed he would be fired.

Reports appeared in the Russian media on Tuesday stating Bilalov and his brother Magomed had fled the country and did not intend to return.

"It is true that the Bilalov brothers are abroad, but that really doesn't mean they're hiding from anybody," the source said. "They have enough business abroad to justify a trip there."

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 comments last month.

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.



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