SBD/Issue 192/Olympics

Financial Irregularities Emerge At London Development Agency

KPMG accountants have been "called in to find the source" of irregularities at the London Development Agency (LDA) after a $165.4M (all figures US) hole was discovered in its accounts for the '12 Olympics, according to sources cited by Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. While there is "no evidence of wrongdoing," LDA Dir of Olympic Legacy Development Gareth Blacker is "on indefinite leave along with his accountant." Blacker's Olympic Legacy Directorate department is the "focus of the KPMG investigation, which found that the agency failed to make provision for between" $99.1-165.4M to "compensate the businesses that were forced out of the Olympic site in Stratford, East London." The LDA has paid $1.2B "to piece together the highly contaminated land," after agreeing to a price of $1.7M per acre for 193 businesses to relocate, but the agency "has yet to settle 72 claims." The accounting anomaly "relates to a failure to put aside the money" (LONDON TIMES, 6/24). O'Connor writes despite the "financial mess" with the LDA, "even the most cynical have largely been won over by the apparent competence of the Olympic Delivery Authority [ODA], the agency clearing the site and building the venues." The ODA "has won the respect of urban planners, event managers, even environmentalists, and the general consensus is that the park will be delivered on time and budget, despite the recession." There is "even confidence in the ability" of LOCOG, led by Chair Sebastian Coe and CEO Paul Deighton, to "deliver an efficiently run event" in '12 (LONDON TIMES, 6/24).

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