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FSB exposes multi-million-rouble theft in Moscow region GLONASS facility construction

May 30, 2013, 11:25 UTC+3
Initially, the cost of construction was set at 1.050 billion roubles
1 pages in this article
Photo ITAR-TASS

Photo ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, May 30 (Itar-Tass) - The main department of the Investigative Committee has launched a pre-investigation check into the case over theft of funds in the project to build a Global Satellite Navigation System /GLONASS/ control and capability demonstration center in Moscow region, the newspaper Izvestia reported on Thursday. The case was passed to the SK by the Federal Security Service /FSB/.

The construction of a building in the town of Korolyov, Moscow region, on the premises of the TsNIImash Central Research Institute of Machine Building /the head company of the Roskosmos aerospace agency/ began in June 2010. It was funded with the money allocated for the GLONASS goal-oriented program. Initially, the cost of construction was set at 1.050 billion roubles. The contractor was 5th department of the SpetsStroi agency for special construction.

Under the documents, Gennady Raikunov, who was director of TsNIImash at the time, ordered his deputy George Kovkov to coordinate the construction work, leaving general supervision to himself.

By the end of 2010, it became clear, that the cost estimates were overstated, and chief engineer of the GLONASS analytical and information department Alexei Agapov informed Raikunov and Kovkov about it. Agapov said in a memorandum attached to the case that the cost of concrete works had been overstated by more than 40 percent. Experts carried out several tests which showed that the supplier had cheated: slip-forms were substituted with large-form shuttering which enabled the supplier to increase the cost of work by more than two-fold.

No additional funding for the project was envisioned, so the building remained unfinished, and construction works stopped in December 2011. It coincided with completion of the federal goal-oriented GLONASS program in the period from 2002 through 2011.

The building is not in use at present.

In early 2013, the Federal Security Service checked the unfinished construction site. A Roskosmos source the FSB had checked a number of facilities where SpetsStroi acted as contractor. In January 2013, FSB agents retrieved construction documents at TsNIImash. The FSB completed its check in April and passed the materials to the SK for opening a criminal case.

Izvestia sources said the investigators are now deciding if criminal proceedings should be opened over facts or against individuals.

The Spetsstroi press service was unable to comment immediately.

The newspaper reminds that the latest money theft case is not the only case over embezzlement of GLONASS program funds. As of now, the Interior Ministry is investigating thefts through the RKS and affiliated companies. RKS director Yuri Urlichich had to resign as the scandal in question peaked last year. On May 13, 2013, the Interior Ministry opened a criminal case over grand fraud /theft of 85 million roubles/ under Article 159, Part 4.

Gennady Raikov was appointed RKS director general in March 2013. The military industrial commission under the Russian government delayed, by a month, the approval of his candidacy, proposed by Roskosmos. A Roskosmos source explained the delay by the position of the FSB which had informed the government about the TsnIImash probe.

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