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Mariinsky Stage Construction Investigated

The St. Petersburg city audit chamber has found massive violations in the construction of the Mariinsky Theater's second stage.

The company responsible for building the theater is the Northwest Directorate for Construction, Reconstruction and Restoration.

The auditors said budget money has been spent ineffectively on the construction during the last three years. The inspection also revealed that at least 290 million rubles ($10 million) had been misspent.

Ten years after the government decided to construct a second stage for St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater at a planned cost of 22 billion rubles ($760 million), 16 billion rubles has already been spent.

Experts said construction of the theater is progressing very slowly, while contractors receive huge advance payments that then sit in their accounts for long periods of time.

A 2009 inspection showed that the initial project estimate had already more than doubled from its initial 9.5 billion rubles.

The project completion date has also been pushed back and is now scheduled for the end of 2012.

After the 2009 inspection, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised to personally control construction spending during the second stage. Special bank accounts were opened in Sberbank for that purpose. Nevertheless, not all the information concerning the project is available, the Audit Chamber said in its 2009-11 report.

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