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30 Apr, 2013 11:13

German doctors suspect poisoning of former Russian Olympic official

German doctors suspect poisoning of former Russian Olympic official

Doctors from a German clinic have reportedly found high volumes of arsenic and molybdenum in the body of Akhmed Bilalov – the former vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee who lost his post over suspicions of major graft.

Doctors from the Baden Baden clinic conducting Bilalov’s health check since early March told Russian and international media that dangerous substances were found in the patient’s blood test. The sources preferred to remain anonymous, but said their statement was approved by the head of the clinic, Wolfgang Kelling, according to Interfax.

When the news initially broke earlier this week it was reported that Bilalov had mercury poisoning, but it was not confirmed by later statements.

The hospital staff said that their patient first complained about health problems last fall. They also reported that Bilalov’s current condition was good due to the fact that he maintained a healthy lifestyle and regularly exercised.

Akhmed Bilalov has already told the press that he intended to file an official report of a suspected crime as soon as he returns to Russia.

The Russian Interior Ministry’s press service said that the police would look into Bilalov’s report as soon as it is submitted.

However, the Interior Ministry’s spokesman used the occasion to remind that the investigators were also waiting for Bilalov to appear and testify within the criminal case instigated into a major graft case and abuse of office in the North Caucasus Resorts company.

A criminal case against the general director of North Caucasus Resorts, Aleksey Nevsky, was started in early April, soon after President Vladimir Putin made a personal visit to the region and inspected the preparations to the forthcoming 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi. Putin publicly blasted the responsible officials for failure to meet the deadlines in constructing the Olympic ski jump and Bilalov left his post as vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee following this criticism. A short time later resigned as board chairman of the North Caucasus Resorts.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin visits the "RusSki Gorki" Jumping Center at the Krasnaya Polyana resort near the Black Sea city of Sochi February 6, 2013 (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

However, he wrote on his Facebook page that he was still proud for the work he had done and added that the ski jump was the only Sochi facility that had received a certificate from the International Skiing Federation.

Within the graft case, investigators suspect that Nevsky illegally spent over 3 million rubles (US$100,000) on Bilalov’s trips to the London Olympics. According to them, the official paid 2 million rubles ($65,000) for accommodation and another 800,000 rubles (over $25,000) for local transportation during his trip to UK, which only lasted about three weeks.

They also claim to have uncovered that in 2012 North Caucasus Resorts spent more on management than on actual investment.

The company was founded in 2010 to manage tourist facilities in the North Caucasus and neighboring regions of Krasnodar and Adygeya. The authorized capital stock of the corporation amounts to 15 billion rubles, 96 per cent of which came from the Russian federal budget.

In mid-April prosecutors conducted a major search in the company’s Moscow office and seized 50 tomes of various documents. A short time later, prosecutors said they suspected North Caucasus Resorts of more wrongdoings, but did not elaborate.

Also in mid-April, the company reported that Bilalov had returned all money spent on his foreign trips to the accounts of North Caucasus Resorts.