Oops! Athens Olympic Blowout $740m

ATHENS, April 22 (AFP) - A Greek minister saidThursday budget overruns of the Athens August Olympicsreach at least 600 million euros (740 million dollars).
Public Works Minister Yiorgos Souflias told thecountry’s parliament his ministry’s total bill for theGames will reach 2.27 billion euros instead of the 1.65billion euros initially foreseen.
This is an increase of around 37 percent,'' Soufliassaid. Souflias' ministry covers only part of the Games'overall 4.6 billion-euro budget -- a figure which willnow have to be revised. It has built the venues for sailing, canoe kayak,badminton, baseball, fencing, handball, modernpentathlon, softball, taekwondo, table tennis and beachvolley. Most of them are finished, or are nearcompletion. The previous government gradually revised upwardsmany of those contracts,’’ a ministry official told AFPon condition of anonymity without offering any furtherdetails.
Greece’s new conservative government took office onMarch 7.
The current government increased the ministry's(Olympic) spending by just 7.6 million euros,'' Souflias said. In March, Greece's Culture Ministry, responsible foranother large chunk of Games-related construction,presented overruns of around 80 million euros, but addedit had still no clear picture of how much it wouldfinally have to pay for the Games. They are still going through the bills, it’s utterchaos down there,’’ a source close to the ministry said.
The Games’ security bill alone reaches at least 650million euros – an Olympic record.