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Threats to Sochi Olympics Whistleblower: 'You Will Be Drowned in Blood!'
A Russian businessmen said he is a "marked man" after publicly alleging officials in the office of President Vladimir Putin demanded payoffs in exchange for Olympic construction contracts in Sochi.
"You will be drowned in blood," Valery Morozov said he was told after fleeing Russia for Great Britain in the wake of his allegations of rampant corruption surrounding the Olympics.
"The contract is there," Morozov told ABC News for a report to be broadcast tonight on ABC News' "World News With Diane Sawyer" and "Nightline".
He says he believes the greatest chance of an attempt on his life will come after the Olympic Games are concluded in late February.
"I've no regrets and I'm not a man who regrets," the former construction executive said.
Morozov's allegations, first made public in 2010, are part of chorus of allegations that the Sochi Olympics will be the most expensive and most corrupt ever.
"Everybody knows this is the most criminal case in the history of Russia," said Boris Nemtsov, a former Russian deputy prime minister and Putin rival.
Nemtsov said he has documented evidence that huge amounts of an estimated $50 to $60 billion spent on Olympics projects has ended up in the bank accounts of well-connected Russian officials and businessmen.
"My estimation is that they stole $30 billion altogether," Nemtsov told ABC News.
As The Economist explained, the initial Russian bid was $12 billion, which was already the most expensive Winter Olympics in history. But that was a crazy silly estimate: As it turned out, simply one of the roads they're building is going to cost $9 billion. One of the main reasons it's turning out to be so expensive is because many of the construction "companies" in charge are run by pals of President Putin. A line in the story about this almost sounds like a Yakov Smirnoff joke: "In Russia corruption is not a side-effect: It is a product almost as important as the sporting event itself." (In Russia, corporations construct you!)
Putin's friends' companies are also not good at, well, construction: The ski jump, for example, has already "been redone several times," and sewage pipes keep bursting, leaving some lingering, oh, unpleasantness. There are constant environmental issues. Everything keeps breaking.
No conspiracy here, just business as usual.
A Vancouver man may be on his way back home from a work assignment at the Sochi Olympics, days after blogging about Russian red tape, $75 for a couple of small pizzas, a filthy hotel room with muddy water and no hot showers and a two-hour commute.
But the biggest concern for Johnnie Balfour is that he worried he wasn’t going to get paid.
Balfour, who was part of the construction crew for the courses at Cypress Mountain for the 2010 Winter Olympics, blogged earlier this month that he had been invited to help build the Sochi tracks for the 2014 Winter Games that start next month.
“So I’m off to Russia!” he wrote.
The next entry on his Tumblr blog, dated Jan. 21, from Balfour, an ex-Australian soldier who now lives with his wife and baby in Vancouver, is much less enthusiastic. It included a video of his accommodations, “which really doesn’t show how bad this place is,” he wrote.
“The toilet flushes muddy water, there is no hot water, the shower floor is covered in dirt and mud, there was p--- all over the toilet, the water is undrinkable (it’s brown), it’s even sketchy to brush your teeth in it, and the idea of having internet in this place is a joke.”