IOC chief visits 2014 Winter Olympic site

Image caption,
Jacques Rogge is to hold talks with Vladimir Putin

International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge is inspecting the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

His visit comes shortly after a Russian official revealed the games would cost $30bn (£20bn) to stage - nearly three times more than the original estimate.

Most facilities are being built from scratch along with new roads and railways to mountain ski resorts.

During his visit, Mr Rogge will hold talks with Russian PM Vladimir Putin.

Deputy Regional Development Minister Yuri Reilyan said last Friday that the spending was "unprecedented" and warned it was putting a serious strain on the budget.

His estimate of $30bn is five times more than the cost of this year's winter Olympics in the Canadian city of Vancouver.

Corruption fears

However, he did say that the games will give a boost to the entire region with each district around Sochi - on the Black Sea - having its own development plan after the games.

The BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow says that given the scale of corruption in Russia, many will suspect that costs are being inflated by bribes paid to officials to secure contracts for Olympic projects.

One businessman has already been quoted by a British newspaper as saying he had to pay $4m (£2.7m) to a Kremlin official to ensure he kept a building contract - amounting to 12% of the total value.

The official is quoted as saying the allegation is rubbish, our correspondent adds.

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