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Audit Chamber to Check 43Bln Ruble Figure for St. Pete Stadium

Fans of football club Zenit chanting "the governor is a lout" and "sell your dacha, build the stadium" at a match with Kuban in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

The head of the Audit Chamber said Friday that it will scrutinize the way money has been spent on the construction of a new taxpayer-funded football stadium in St. Petersburg, the cost of which has risen from 6.7 billion rubles ($212.7 million) to at least 16 billion rubles.

Sergei Stepashin said the chamber would also investigative the source of a must higher figure for the construction cost that has been quoted in media reports.

"We want to examine where the 16 billion rubles have already gone and where the incredible stadium price of 43 billion rubles came from," Stepashin told Interfax.

He added that he expected the audit to be completed by late November.

St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, who has been criticized over the stadium cost, told journalists Friday that he welcomed the check.

"All inspectors are received with open arms — they bring clarity. After [their] work is finished, all the speculation regarding expenditures will end," Poltavchenko said in the northern capital, according to Interfax.

Local football fans have been frustrated with the slow progress on stadium construction, which began in 2007 and is expected to wrap up in 2014. They have also sparred with Poltavchenko on the source of funding for the arena.

On Saturday, fans of St. Petersburg's Zenit football club chanted at a match attended by the governor "sell your dacha, build the stadium" — a reference to Poltavchenko's statement earlier this month that fans should donate their own money to help build the stadium, a statement he later withdrew.

The stadium is supposed to be funded by tax revenue from oil company Gazprom Neft and petrochemical giant Sibur, both locally registered firms.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also criticized the pace of work on the stadium in September.

The new arena will host matches of the 2018 World Cup, to be hosted by 11 Russian cities including Moscow, Kazan and Sochi.

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