By Emily Goddard

Akhmed Bilalov 080313March 8 - Akhmed Bilalov, the former Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) vice-president fired by Russian President Vladimir Putin over construction delays and cost overruns on the ski jumping facility for Sochi 2014, is now facing fresh allegations of misspending up to 15.5 billion roubles ($504 million/£335 million/€387 million), prosecutors have confirmed.

The 42-year-old, who has since fled the country with his brother Magomed Bilalov, could now face misuse of funds charges stemming from travel expenses for lavish trips – including one where he allegedly hired a helicopter to take him to his hotel from the airport in the United Arab Emirates – charged to a state company, should Russian prosecutors decide to file the case.

"Incidents have been uncovered of money-wasting and groundless use of company funds on luxury business trips of Bilalov and the leaders of the company to long-haul destinations," said spokeswoman Marina Gridneva.

Putin took the action to fire Bilalov after asking who was responsible for the delay in the completion of the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre during a visit to Sochi last month.

RusSki Gorki Jumping CentreVladimir Putin has fired Akhmed Bilalov after blaming him for the problems over the construction of the ski jumping facility for Sochi 2014

The project was also revealed to be considerably over budget, having originally been penned to cost $40 million (£26 million/€30 million) and now estimated at $265 million (£163 million/€189 million) when it is completed in July.

Russian auditors said this week that the state company responsible for building that facility had systematically overstated costs by a total of 15.5 billion roubles ($504 million/£335 million/€387 million).

The case also highlights concerns over the significant cost overruns for the Sochi 2014 Games.

The current price tag is estimated at about $51 billion (£34 billion/€39 billion), which would make them the most expensive Olympics and Paralympics in history.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]dethegames.biz


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