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Russia charges four stole Olympic funds

Sept. 10, 2012 at 9:53 AM

MOSCOW, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Russian investigators said Monday a company hired to help Russian athletes competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver stole $629,000.

The allegations arose from a separate investigation immediately after the Games into the misspending of $7 million in government funds to prepare the athletes, RIA Novosti reported.

The earlier investigation was shut down because of a lack of evidence, but it revealed a fraud scheme operated by the Europroject company, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said.

Owner Dmitry Artyukhovsky and Valery Uskov of Europroject were accused of stealing the funds in collaboration with Artem Yefimtsev and Andrei Kiselyov who worked for another company.

Markin said Europroject was hired to provide visa documents for the Russian athletes and information technology support at sports events.

The company presented "obviously fraudulent documents that the work had been completed," Markin said.

The four men have been charged with large-scale fraud. If convicted, each could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined $30,000, officials said.

The men could not be reached for comment.

Russian athletes in the 2010 Winter Games had a disappointing overall performance -- winning just 15 medals, including three gold.

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