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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gazprom in Talks with IOC

Gazprom could soon become of one the main sponsors for the International Olympic Committee, Sochi 2014 bid chairman said Friday.

"The initial negotiations have taken place already," Dmitry Chernyshenko told a small group of reporters in Moscow.

"We didn't want to announce it now just before the IOC vote to decide the winner for the 2014 Winter Olympics as it may be viewed that we try to interfere with the bidding process. But the announcement could me made shortly after that."

At the July 4 session in Guatemala City, the IOC will name the winner in a three-way race among Sochi, the Austrian city of Salzburg and South Korea's Pyeongchang.

"I think it's about time that Russia's top companies start joining the IOC and the Olympic movement," Chernyshenko said.

"The IOC has many major international companies like Coca-Cola or Samsung as sponsors. Gazprom could soon be one of them," he added.

Chernyshenko said he was not worried that Samsung, being a South Korean company, could influence the IOC vote in favor of Pyeongchang.

"I expect it to be a fair process," he said.

President Vladimir Putin -- an avid downhill skier who frequently skies in Sochi -- will travel to Guatemala to support the Sochi bid. He will be in Guatemala on July 3 and 4.