By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

Taimuraz_Bolloyev_head_and_shouldersJanuary 31 - Taimuraz Bolloyev has resigned as the chief executive of Olimpstroy, the company responsible for the $12 billion (£7.5 billion) construction programme at Sochi 2014, amid growing claims of corruption linked to the Winter Olympics and Paralympics it has been reported.

It is claimed that he has stepped down for health reasons and has been replaced by Sergei Gaplikov, the deputy head of the Executive Office of the Government of the Russian Federation.

Bolloyev's resignation comes just two weeks after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev demanded an audit into Government spending for the Games and the Krasnodar region Investigative Committee filing 27 cases of corruption linked to contracts in Sochi, it was reported in the Russia media.

"There has been considerable work to identify the facts and investigate cases of corruption among local Government employees and the law enforcement system in preparation for the Olympic Games in 2014," Alexei Kramarenko, the head of Sochi Investigation Department, told Russian news agency Interfax.

Six criminal cases have been opened against senior members at Olimpstroy, over an alleged fictitious project which involved fake documents and which siphoned off more than 23 million roubles (£5 million/$7 million), he said.

Earlier this month Medvedev called for tighter control of spending on Olympic facilities in Sochi and exhorted the Audit Chamber to account for "every rouble that was spent on the case," RIA Novosti reported.

"Of course, questions arise: where does the money go?" Medvedev was reported to have said.

"Is it used correctly?

"How effectively is it spent?...Everything connected with the building work must be put under proper control."

Bolloyev founded Baltika beer and took over as the head of Olimpstroy in June 2009.

Olympstroy was set-up by then Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007 and is overseeing all the building work for the Games, including the Olympic Park and the mountain resort in Krasnaya Polyana.

Bolloyev's departure coincides with final preparations in Sochi for the first test events for the Games, the Europa Cup Alpine ski races scheduled from February 15-18 and February 22-26 in the Krasnaya Polyana mountains.

"We'd like to thank Taymuraz Bolloev for his hard work and dedication to the Sochi 2014 project," a statement from the International Olympic Committee said.

"A lot of progress has been made and we are confident that the structures put in place by Sochi 2014 and the Russian Government will ensure that his departure will not impact on the progress currently being made.

"We welcome the appointment of Sergey Gaplikov and look forward to working with him."

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