Inquiry begins into restoration at Bolshoi and missing millions

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The long-running woes of the Bolshoi Theatre deepened today when Russian prosecutors said that some of the millions spent on the crumbling venue's restoration had mysteriously vanished and may have been stolen.

Officials from Russia's general prosecutor's office said they had opened a criminal investigation into the misuse of funds at Moscow's celebrated ballet and opera venue. The firm supposed to renovate the theatre was being investigated, they said.

The Bolshoi closed for restoration in 2005 after decades of neglect and the discovery of an underground stream that was undermining the foundations. It was supposed to reopen this year. Instead the date has embarrassingly been put back several times, officially until 2011 but unofficially until 2013...

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