Fugitive organizer of the Sochi Olympics detained in the United States

Fugitive organizer of the Sochi Olympics detained in the United States
Image by Andrys Stienstra from Pixabay

A former member of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and former head of the board of directors of the state-owned company “Resorts of the North Caucasus” (KSK), Akhmed Bilalov, was detained in Florida. In the winter of 2013, he, along with his brother Magomed, left Russia after Vladimir Putin criticized the pace of the construction of ski jumps for the Sochi Olympics, and criminal cases were brought against them.

According to our correspondent, Bilalov was detained in his own house near Miami, where he lived with his wife and newborn son. The essence of the claims against Bilalov is unknown.

Bilalov lost his chair of the chairman of the board of directors of KSK and the post of vice president of the ROC after Vladimir Putin, while inspecting the Olympic construction sites in Sochi in 2013, was unsatisfied with the progress in the construction of ski jumps in the Mountain Carousel complex. The president then drew attention to the fact that the project was planned for commissioning back in June 2011. Bilalov himself said that the reason for the rise in price is due to the fact that leaders in the Olympic project often changed, and each of them made changes, often revolutionary, or simply stopped the construction because of a desire to figure it out.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who oversees the preparation for Sochi-2014 at the final stage, explained the failure of the deadline by default on the previous major shareholder of OJSC Krasnaya Polyana, that is, Bilalov. In May 2012, Sberbank bought the control over Krasnaya Polyana from a businessman. Under Bilalov, the company was also responsible for the construction of the Gorki Gorod hotel and apartment complex in Krasnaya Polyana and also disrupted the construction period.

Forbes sources among Olympic investors after the Bilalov fell into disgrace were surprised at such a development. According to them, in early 2012, Magomed Bilalov received a letter from the president for the successful conduct of ski jumping test competitions, and there was no complaint to him or to his brother.

A few weeks after Putin’s criticism, the Investigative Committee instituted criminal proceedings, with both brothers being suspected. The cases were based on allegations of misuse of money from the Resorts of the North Caucasus, as a result of which the suspects allegedly illegally received over 45 million rubles.

In the winter of 2013, the brothers left Russia. At first, the business brothers assured that they were abroad to improve their health, but since then they have not returned to their homeland. Ahmed Bilalov told the Ministry of Internal Affairs that he could not arrive in Russia for medical reasons and should be treated in the UK.

Since 2013, the brothers were on the international wanted list, and in 2016, Kommersant wrote, sent international investigative instructions on their cases to the United States and Switzerland. Shortly before that, the Bilalovs’ representatives claimed that the criminal prosecution of businessmen had been stopped.

A special report from Abantika Ghosh

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