January 19 - Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any corruption has taken place during the nation's preparations to host next month's Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi.
With 19 days to go to the Opening Ceremony, he also challenged those with allegations of misconduct to come forward with proof.
"We don't see any large-scale instances of corruption during our preparations...in Sochi," Putin said.
"If anyone has any information about corruption in Sochi, please hand it over, we will be glad and grateful.
"A few years ago local bureaucrats tried to buy and sell land intended for Olympic venues.
"Investigations were carried out, these people were tried by Russian courts and are serving their punishments."
Putin's comments follow those made by influential International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and International Ski Federation (FIS) President Gian Franco Kasper last week when he alleged that a third of the $51 billion (£31 billion/€37 billion) budget had disappeared in bribes during the preparations for Sochi 2014.
He claimed contracts were given to a "construction mafia" of businessmen closely linked to the Kremlin and Putin, while in May last year former Russian Deputy Prime Minister-turned-Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov released a report alleging that up to $30 billion (£18 billion/€22 billion) has been stolen in the run up to the most expensive Games in Olympic history.
Meanwhile, Putin has defended Russia's anti-gay propaganda law, insisting that he is not prejudiced against homosexuals and even has gay acquaintances himself.
He also moved to reassure people that "individuals of this non-traditional sexual orientation" visiting or competing at Sochi 2014 would not face discrimination and even spoke of his respect for gay celebrities like British singer Elton John.
"We have recently passed a law prohibiting propaganda, and not of homosexuality only, but of homosexuality and child abuse, child sexual abuse," he told the BBC.
"But this is nothing to do with persecuting individuals for their sexual orientation.
"There's a world of difference between these things.
"So there's no danger for individuals of this non-traditional sexual orientation, who are planning to come to the Games as visitors, or participants.
"Read our law carefully - and pay attention to its name.
"It's called a 'ban on the propaganda of paedophilia and homosexuality'.
"There are countries, including in Europe, where they're debating the possibility of legalising paedophilia.
"Publicly discussing this, in Parliament.
"They can do what they want, but the people of Russia have their own cultural code, their own traditions.
"It seems to me that the law we adopted doesn't harm anybody.
"What's more, homosexual people can't feel inferior here, because there is no professional, career or social discrimination against them.
"When they achieve great success, for example Elton John - he's an extraordinary person, a distinguished musician, and millions of our people sincerely love him, regardless of his sexual orientation."
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