Russia to crack down on graft in World Cup preparations

Moscow, June 21 (IANS) Russian authorities are preparing to crack down on corruption during preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2018, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said.

"We are going to do everything we can to make this project transparent. The more openness there is, the fewer opportunities there are for corruption," Mutko told reporters Thursday, reports Xinhua.

Mutko warned that from now, on the Cup's budget will be checked at every stage and individual officials will be accountable for any overspending.

He added that the government planned to hold meetings with all the agencies involved, including the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Audit Chamber with the aim to curb corruption.

Financial Minister Anton Siluanov said earlier Thursday the government spending for the event would reach 440 billion rubles ($15 billion), which is twice the amount estimated by President Vladimir Putin in 2010 when Russia won the bid.

Next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi have already been marred by repeated claims of large-scale corruption, with the former head of a company in charge for a ski-jump venue construction under investigation for funds embezzlement.

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