2014 Olympic construction chief quits

2011-01-31 13:19

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 today.

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 multibillion-dollar project.

Originally, $12 billion (about R86 billion) of public and private money was earmarked for Russia’s first Winter Games, but that figure is thought to have spiralled.

Bolloyev’s departure comes as Sochi organisers prepare to stage the first test events for the games, with lower-tier Europa Cup Alpine ski races scheduled from February 15 to 18 and February 22 to 26 in the Krasnaya Polyana mountains.

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.

Human rights activists have accused Sochi organisers of badly mistreating construction workers and said some went for long periods without pay.

In previous jobs, Bolloyev helped turn the St Petersburg-based Baltika Breweries into one of Europe’s largest and ran an apparel company that supplied uniforms to airlines and train operators.

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