GENEVA (AP) — Senior IOC member Gian Franco Kasper defended his comments about corruption in the multi-billion-dollar spending on the Sochi Olympics, saying Friday they are based on a common perception in Russia.
Kasper, the long-time president of the International Ski Federation, told The Associated Press he stands by comments he made in a Swiss television interview.
The veteran Swiss official told state broadcaster SRF that one-third of the Sochi spending disappeared because of corruption. He said contracts were given to a "construction mafia" of businessmen closely linked to the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin.
"The contracts were given to people who already had a foot in the door. We know it," the 69-year-old International Olympic Committee member said in an interview broadcast by the "Rundschau" news magazine.
Kasper told the AP on Friday: "I didn't say anything which I wouldn't have said two years ago."
He said the one-third figure for corrupt spending is "what everybody says in Russia" and is not based on inside knowledge or evidence.
The games are estimated to cost a record $51 billion in sports and infrastructure projects.