Senior International Olympic Committee member Gian Franco Kasper claims that one-third of the spending on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia has disappeared as a result of corruption involving "businessmen closely linked to the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin," according to the AP's Graham Dunbar via ABC News.
Kasper was forceful with his claims: "The contracts were given to people who already had a foot in the door. We know it."
The 69-year-old also serves as president of the International Ski Federation in addition to holding a role on the IOC.
Kasper made the recent comments on a television interview in his native Switzerland and has defended his statement passionately since drawing attention to himself, per Dunbar:
"I didn't say anything which I wouldn't have said two years ago. One-third is disappearing. It's not only in Russia that in certain businesses there is always a part disappearing."
Kasper added that the one-third estimate is based on what people in Russia are saying and not on any hard evidence. He also explained that the dissolving money was coming from sources inside Russia and not the IOC.
Dunbar reports that this February's Winter Games are estimated to cost a record $51 billion, and that a report released back in May by a former Russian deputy prime minister alleges that roughly $30 billion has been stolen leading up to the global spectacle.
According to Kasper, only $13 billion has been spent on the Sochi Games and the rest was designated for transport and construction projects throughout the region.
It remains to be seen what will come of Kasper's allegations. But with the Olympics less than one month away, the speculation certainly comes at a poor time.
Still, with the Games still on schedule, it's difficult to imagine a controversy like this one stopping diehard sports fans and casual viewers from tuning in to catch a glimpse of some of the planet's top athletes.
The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics is scheduled to run from Feb. 6 through Feb. 23, with the opening ceremony scheduled for Friday, Feb. 7.
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