Kaliningrad stadium ‘subsided’ by $8.4m

Kaliningrad stadium ‘subsided’ by $8.4m
Arena Baltika Stadium under construction, Kaliningrad

The amount of work in the construction of Arena Baltika has been overstated by more than half a billion rubles.

As part of the criminal case under part 4 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code (Swindling on an especially large scale), officers of the MIA GUEBiPK (General Administration for Economic Security and Combatting the Corruption) have conducted searches in the Moscow company GlobalElectroService (included in Summa group of Ziyavudin Magomedov).

Since 2013, GlobalElectroService has participated in the construction of Arena Baltika Stadium for 2018 World Cup in Kaliningrad. Its tasks included work on the preparation of soil worth 850 million rubles ($14.2 million). This is reported by Kommersant. Later, the cost was reduced to 785 million rubles ($13.1 million) by agreement of the parties. It was required to fill a plot of 22 hectares with 1.6 million cubic meters of sand to strengthen soft soils, install 1.7 million running meters of vertical belt drainage pipes by unique technology, and construct temporary roads. The subcontractors Kaliningrad Alfa Story, Vest, and Geostroy became the direct executors.

The work was completed in 2014 and accepted by the customer without complaints. However, a year later, additional soil samples revealed a subsidence; according to the customer, it was due to the use of poor quality sand. In this connection, in 2016, the Regional Directorate for Capital Construction State Public Institution in the Kaliningrad region (customer of the arena construction), filed a lawsuit against GlobalElectroService OJSC with the arbitration court, demanding to recover a penalty in the amount of more than 60 million rubles ($1 million) from it. However, the plaintiff lost in all courts. For example, according to the arbitration case materials, the subsidence is a justified physical phenomenon. The construction workers, in turn, said that they had encountered unforeseen difficulties, such as quicksands. The stadium is being built on the Oktyabrsky Island, which is located between the rivers Staraya and Novaya Pregolya, and, as the local authorities themselves reported, it is prone to flooding.

As a result, instead of the penalty, the contractors demanded additional 500 million rubles ($8.4 million) to eliminate the shortcomings.

After the court did not accept the arguments of the officials, the latter appealed to the law enforcement authorities to find out whether the constructions workers could have saved on materials, thus overstating the cost of work; while the demand for additional funds was considered an extortion.

At the same time, in parallel with the search in Moscow, documents were also seized in the government of the Kaliningrad region. 

The construction of Arena Baltika has already raised concerns among the federal center. In early 2017, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vitaly Mutko noted that due to poor control of construction projects on the part of the authorities, the terms of the construction of stadium had been disrupted by 11 Russian cities, where the matches of the World Cup in 2018 were to be held. The Kaliningrad arena was among those lagging behind. The stadium’s commissioning time has been postponed from 2017 to 2018.

The stadium under construction is designed for 35 thousand seats, including temporary stands for 10 thousand fans.

The Football World Cup will be held in Russia from June 14 to July 15, 2018.

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