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Zenit Construction Under Criminal Investigation

The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case of major fraud concerning construction of the Zenit football stadium on Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg.

Last year, the Audit Chamber reviewed the use of budget funds in the construction of the stadium.

"So it seems the stadium will be made of gold. Only Wembley [Stadium in England] is more expensive," chamber head Sergei Stepashin said.

The exact amount of the funds allegedly misappropriated was not revealed.

"I can say that it's millions [of rubles] at a minimum," St. Petersburg Prosecutor Sergei Litvinenko told Itar-Tass.

The budget for the project was 43.8 billion rubles ($1.46 billion). But in six years of construction, the amount has increased more than sixfold. The project could easily have been done for 10 billion rubles less than was originally planned, Stepashin said.

(MT)

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