MOSCOW, April 25 (R-Sport) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday any alleged corruption surrounding preparations for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics will not affect the running of the Games themselves.
Billions of rubles have been poured into Russia's first Winter Games since the International Olympic Committee awarded the country the hosting rights in 2007.
Putin, who lobbied hard to secure the Games, acknowledged there were fears that a significant portion of the federal funds allocated could disappear.
"All these critical remarks, it's all expected, and there’s no point in taking offense, because none of it relates directly to the construction," Putin said.
"They relate to financial institutions and to the finance flows, which the builders have nothing to do with," he said.
The country is building all the facilities needed for the competition from scratch, and while all of the competition venues themselves are finished, the race to complete the associated infrastructure ahead of the February 7 opening ceremony is still very much on.
"On the whole, work is going according to schedule, on the whole, the facilities are being completed on time, all the planned test events are being held," Putin said.
"I'm absolutely convinced that everything necessary in preparing for the Olympics will be completed with the necessary level of quality and on time," he said.
Putin did not say whether any of the corruption claims were credible or being investigated.
Nor did he refer to the case of Akhmed Bilalov, the former deputy head of the Russian Olympic Committee who is under investigation for misspending government funds after Putin publicly chided him for delays in building the ski jump facility.
Putin said 99 billion rubles (almost $3.2 billion) had been assigned from the state budget to prepare for the games, with an additional 144 billion rubles ($4.6 billion) coming from investors.
He said the sum included “two media villages, 14 sports facilities and 22 supporting facilities.”
Commenting on the diverse range of sums being mentioned in the media, Putin said that there were “different ways to count and different things to count.”
Updated correcting currency from $ to rubles in the 144 billion reference