Again Roskosmos: about $15 million stolen during reconstruction of rocket engines testing center

Again Roskosmos: about $15 million stolen during reconstruction of rocket engines testing center
Experimentation stand Scientific and Testing Center of Rocket and Space Industry (NITs RKP)

A criminal case has been filed.

About 1 billion rubles ($15.4 m) could be stolen during the reconstruction of the facilities of the Scientific and Testing Center of Rocket and Space Industry (NITs RKP). According to Kommersant, the Prosecutor General’s Office came to this conclusion after verifying the execution of a contract between NITs RKP and the contractor, Moskapstroy LLC.

According to the supervisory authority, the Executive Director of Roskosmos for Construction Alexey Borodin and Vladimir Meshkov, Director of the Department for Organizing the Construction of the state corporation, agreed on the victory of Moskapstroy in a closed competition for the reconstruction and technical re-equipment of the stand base of NITs RKP, the head center of Roskosmos for fire tests of liquid rocket engines, back in 2017. To this end, Borodin signed an agreement with the General Director of NITs RKP Oleg Galayda according to which the authority to enter into and execute contracts on behalf of the state corporation was transferred to NITs RKP.

A few months later, under a new agreement, Roskosmos took over the authority to hold a tender for the selection of the executor of these works, and Meshkov was appointed Chairman of the Competition Commission in violation of his competence.

At the same time, it turned out that during the tender Moskapstroy provided a fake bank guarantee in order to substantiate financial and construction capacities, which in fact it did not possess. According to the Prosecutor's office, Meshkov and Borodin ensured that this company remained the only participant in the closed tender, securing its victory and the subsequent contract with NITs RKP for the amount of about 3.2 billion rubles ($49.4 m), about 1.5 billion rubles ($23.1 m) of which NITs RKP transferred to Moskapstroy in the form of an advance.

After that, the Head of Moskapstroy, Maxim Shcherbakov, shortly before receiving the money, concluded 20 contracts worth more than 1 billion rubles ($15.4 m) with a number of companies that have from one to three people on the staff. Eventually, Moskapstroy performed only 3% of the works, and withdrew the funds for cashing.

In November 2018, the Prosecutor General’s Office sent verification materials to the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) to resolve the issue of criminal prosecution of Alexey Borodin and Vladimir Meshkov under part 3 of Art. 286 of the Criminal Code (abuse of power). In turn, the supervisory authority suspected Maxim Shcherbakov and Oleg Galayda of committing a crime under part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Swindling committed by an organized group or on a large scale).

However, according to Kommersant, having considered the decision of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the ICR opened only one criminal case of fraud, in which so far involves “unidentified persons acting on behalf of Moskapstroy LLC and the subcontractor company Skaynet Group LLC, who forged the bank guarantee. The preliminary amount of damage is 308 million rubles ($4.7 m).

Roskosmos does not comment on the information, referring to the fact that Borodin, Shcherbakov and Galayda no longer work in the state corporation or its enterprises.

Of note, Moskapstroy is also named in another criminal case related to another subsidiary of Roskosmos - Tekhnomash. It refers to the alleged theft of about 410 million rubles ($6.3 m) allocated for the reconstruction of the production of the Perm powder factory.

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