Investigators solve space theft case

Investigators solve space theft case

The damage inflicted to the Russian Space Systems exceeds 300 million rubles ($5.3m).

Russian MIA department 4 has completed the main investigation into the theft of funds at Russian Space Systems (RSS) and RSC Energia.

According to Rosbalt’s reports with reference to a law enforcement source, all the expert examinations and interrogations have finally been completed. It is expected that Igor Krylov, deputy director of the rocket and space instrument manufacturing plant (RSS’s one of the largest enterprises) and a group of contracting firm executives will be given the final charges soon. Krylov has been in custody since December 2016. After the persons involved in the case have studied the files, they will be forwarded to the prosecutor for approval.

There have been kickbacks in the company for a long time. RSS and Energia would only allocate money to the contractors that returned part of it to the allocation decision makers. According to the investigation, the returns were made through the accounts of shell companies under fictitious contracts. The money then was cashed and taken by special couriers.

One such company was discovered in Moscow in the spring of 2016. Then the Main Investigative Directorate of Moscow MIA instituted a criminal case under Article "Illegal Banking Activity" (172 of the Criminal Code). However, further investigation revealed the connection of "laundries" with contracting companies and subcontractors of the RKS and RSC Energia. They were engaged in development of new space technology.

MIA department 4 was involved in the investigation since it deals with crimes committed at special facilities, including space-related enterprises. A separate criminal case was opened: embezzlement of budget funds by swindling (Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

An operational experiment was carried out and a large amount of money intended for a rollback was marked with a special solution, which helped detain the intermediary who came for the money. Subsequently, some managers of the shell firms that served to launder and cash the money began to cooperate with the investigation.

It should be noted that at the end of last year it was reported that an RSS subsidiary engaged in the development of the GLONASS system got under suspicion. The investigators suspected that over half a billion rubles had been embezzled. The criminal case was initiated back in 2012 and classified under part 2 of Art. 201 of the Criminal Code "Abuse of authority which has involved grave consequences". Then the investigative actions were triggered by the inspections of Roskosmos and the Main Department of Economic Security and Countering Corruption. It was found out that it was the RSS staff that was actually working on the GLONASS between 2006 and 2010, while the documents indicated that the research work was to be performed by third parties under the contracts, and the payments were transferred to Sinertek accounts.

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