Head of company developing drones for Ministry of Defense arrested in Kazan

Head of company developing drones for Ministry of Defense arrested in Kazan
Alexander Gomzin

Alexander Gomzin was charged with misappropriation of state funds.

Head of the Design Bureau named after M.P. Simonov Alexander Gomzin was arrested on charges of misappropriating state funds. Previously, Vedomosti reported that the money allocated by the Ministry of Defense to the bureau to create a military drone was not enough.

Alexander Gomzin, the CEO of the Experimental Design Bureau named after M.P. Simonov, was arrested on charges of misappropriating state subsidies. The acting head of the enterprise, Vladislav Lachugin, told TASS about this.

“At the request of the investigation, the court ruled to take Gomzin into custody until June 10,” he said, explaining that the investigation accuses Gomzin of misappropriating subsidies that were allocated to the company in 2014.

Lachugin also noted that these charges are “absurd,” and the mentioned amount is “impossible for the enterprise.” “Gomzin does not just deny the guilt. The amount indicated by the investigation is simply impossible for our company,” he said. At the same time, Lachugin did not specify the amount involved. TASS, without indicating the source, said that Gomzin “is accused of embezzling 900 million rubles (~14.766 USD).”

The arrest of Gomzin was confirmed to Interfax in the press service of the Sovetsky District Court of Kazan, which chose the pre-trial restriction for Gomzin. The court also said that Gomzin was accused of fraud on a particularly large scale (part 7 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code), abuse of office (part 2 of Art. 201 of the Criminal Code), and misappropriating state funds (part 2 of Art. 285.1 of the Criminal Code).

In mid-March, Tatarstan edition Business ONLINE reported with reference to its sources about searches and seizure of documents in the named design bureau. According to the publication, the investigative actions took place in the Bureau in October 2017.

The source of TASS in the management of the Design Bureau called the criminal case against Gomzin a “raider seizure.” “The Simonov Design Bureau has a large capitalization, it is involved in the creation of such breakthrough military technologies as a heavy remote-piloted vehicles of long-range,” the agency’s interlocutor said.

In April 2017, the newspaper Vedomosti reported that the Simonov Design Bureau applied to the government of Russia with a request to provide additional funding for the development of a civilian version of the military drone, previously ordered by the Ministry of Defense.

In 2011, the Bureau won the competition of the Ministry of Defense for research work on the creation of a device weighing up to 5 tons and worth 1 billion rubles (~16.407 million USD). Two years later, in 2013, a five-year contract for experimental design was signed, and in 2016 a prototype of the drone Altair made its first flight. However, the funds allocated by the Ministry of Defense were not enough to complete the project. In addition, during the development of the remote-piloted vehicle, its characteristics have changed: its mass increased by 2 tons and the development cost exceeded the amount of 2 billion rubles (~32.815 million USD). Therefore, the developers decided to propose to the government to develop a civil version of Altair in order to obtain additional financing for the 1,5 - 2 billion rubles (~24.611 - 32.815 million USD). According to the calculations of the Design Bureau, this will create a sample of a remote-piloted vehicle in 2019, and in 2020, start its production.

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