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Russia imposes heavy fines for touts at Sochi Games

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law imposing heavy fines for ticket touts at the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.

The International Olympic Committee has the power to establish ticket prices for all events at the 2014 Games and anyone caught selling tickets above their face value faces a fine of up to one million roubles ($32,700), the Russian government said on its website (www.kremlin.ru).

For low-level scalping, the fine could be up to 10 times the ticket's price for individuals or 20 times for a Games official. Companies scalping tickets could be shut down.

For years, Russia has been plagued by illegal ticket sales at most major sporting and entertainment events.

The Sochi Games are a prestige project for Putin that will allow him to showcase Russia's ability to organize major events and boost its international image.

The new law also regulates hotel prices in the region during the 2014 Games, prohibiting owners charging more than the state-imposed fee for each category.

($1 = 30.5480 Russian roubles)

(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov, editing by Ed Osmond)

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