Chief engineer of Vostochny cosmodrome accused of embezzling 14 million rubles 

Chief engineer of Vostochny cosmodrome accused of embezzling 14 million rubles

The Gagarinsky District Court of Moscow is currently hearing the case of Sergey Ostrovsky, Chief Engineer in a Ministry of Defense design institute. He is accused of embezzling 14 million rubles of budget funds allocated for construction of Vostochny cosmodrome. The designing engineer is facing 7 years behind bars and 1 million rubles in fines. According to Izevstia newspaper, the sentence will be announced on June 21, 2016.

Sergey Ostrovsky, Chief Engineer of the project to equip Vostochny cosmodrome implemented by the State Design Institute for Special Construction (GPISS) of the Ministry of Defense, was detained in November 2014. The investigation believes that in 2011 he signed contracts with MIKOS company, whose principal general was himself. The larceny scheme worked as follows: MIKOS signed sham contracts with contractors, then the moneys were cashed and embezzled by Ostrovsky.

In December 2015 the designing engineer was charged with fraud, i.e. “larceny of others’ property through deception and breach of trust, using official capacity” (part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Vostochny cosmodrome got scandalous reputation even before its official launch due to the number of criminal cases opened against owners of contracting companies.

For example, in May 2016 court sentenced Sergey Yudin, head of TMK (Pacific Bridge Construction Company) Closed Joint Stock Company, building the cosmodrome, to 3 years behind bars for larceny of 104 million rubles. Viktor Grebnev, ex-director of Pacific Bridge Construction Company, is under home arrest: he is accused of larceny of 288 million rubles. The suspect in the Vostochny cosmodrome larceny case used to cruise around Minsk in a Mercedes decorated with strasses. In addition, the Far-Eastern Regional Court is examining a case of Yuri Khrizman, ex-director of Dalspetzstroy Federal State Unitary Enterprise, and Vladimir Ashikhmin, senior accountant of this enterprise; this case is directly related to Vostochny cosmodrome. They are accused of causing damages of 5.2 billion rubles to the state budget through larceny and embezzlement (Article 160 of the Criminal Code) during acquisitions for the construction of Vostochny.

Фигурант дела о хищениях на космодроме Восточный разъезжал по Минску на «Мерседесе» со стразами.jpg

A year ago, a Georgia native who was on the international wanted list, director of a company participating in the cosmodrome construction in the Amur Region, was detained in Belarus. The state prosecution believes that the contractor received 4 million rubles in prepayment and used the funds for its own activities. The man was arrested in a strass-incrusted Mercedes worth some 10 million rubles.

We would like to remind than on April 28, 2016, after the first space launch from Vostochny cosmodrome, Vice Premier Dmitry Rogozin said that 86 billion rubles have been spent on the cosmodrome construction to that moment. The official linked the growing crush rate of launch vehicles with corruption among the management of space industry enterprises. Rogozin noted that 8 criminal cases have been initiated against them, facts of fraud and forging documents uncovered, which resulted in economic damages over 9 billion rubles.

It is worth noting that the space rocket industry in the Russian Federation attracts special attention of control bodies due to satellite outages, more frequent crushes of launch vehicles, and criminal cases against management of space industry enterprises. The total damages sustained by the Russian space industry exceed 9 billion rubles. Larceny charges (Article 159 of the Criminal Code) have been laid against Vitaly Lopota, ex-head of Energia (Energy) Space Rocket Corporation, Vladimir Nesterov, ex-director of the Khrunichev State Space Research and Production Center, and former employees of TSNIIMASH (Central Research Institute for Machine Construction) Federal State Unitary Enterprise, the largest subsidiary company of Roskosmos State Space Corporation.

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