Putin removes Olympic panel vice president for delays

Moscow, Feb 7 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin ousted a vice president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) from office, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said Thursday.

Kozak is in charge of preparations for the 22nd Winter Olympics to be held in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi, reports Xinhua.

"The corresponding orders are given to strip (the vice president of ROC) Akhmet Bilalov off his duties," Kozak told reporters.

Putin, who visited Sochi Olympic cluster Wednesday, criticised Bilalov for disruption of the construction work at the Games' venues after learning that the construction of the ski-jumping complex has been dragged out for two years.

Putin was also unhappy that the final cost of the project has climbed to eight billion rubles ($250 million) instead of the initially allocated 1.2 billion ($37.5 million).

"After an investor accepted obligations to erect an Olympic venue, it becomes the Russian Federation's obligation before the International Olympic Committee. If the investor fails to fulfill his obligations, it means the Russian Federation fails, not a private citizen like Bilanov," the Interfax news agency quoted Kozak as saying.

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