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Russia's Far Eastern police investigating 2 new Vostochny spaceport embezzlement cases

September 21, 2015, 15:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Prosecutor’s checks at the Vostochny cosmodrome construction site exposed facts of theft that caused damage worth $113 million, Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika previously reported
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© TASS/Igor Ageenko

MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. Two new criminal cases of embezzlement during the construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East are being investigated by the Amur region police, the Interior Ministry’s press centre reported on Monday.

"Investigators of the Russian Interior Ministry’s investigative department for the Amur region have opened a criminal case against the former director of the company, which built the Vostochny cosmodrome’s automobile roads and railways. He is suspected of large-scale embezzlement," the Interior Ministry said.

According to preliminary information, in September 2012, the Federal State Unitary Enterprise (FSUE) in charge of the spaceport construction and a limited liability company, headed by the suspect, concluded a subcontract on the construction of spaceport’s automobile roads for the federal needs. In July 2013, the two organisations signed additional agreements — on the railway construction by the subcontractor. "The Federal State Unitary Enterprise made a payment in excess of $15 million under the subcontract. However, in actual fact, the construction of the roads and railways cost slightly more than $6.8 million," the Interior Ministry said.

Thus, the former director of the organization stole more than $9.3 million.

Prosecutor’s checks at the Vostochny cosmodrome construction site exposed facts of theft that caused damage worth $113 million, Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika previously reported. The Prosecutor’s Office, he said, checked 250 organizations involved in the spaceport construction for compliance with the legislation. "The checks exposed the facts of theft causing damage worth nearly $113 million," Chaika said.

The Vostochny (Eastern) spaceport is being built near the town of Uglegorsk in the Amur Region. It will become the first national cosmodrome for civilian use. The spaceport has been under construction since 2010. The Vostochny cosmodrome will comprise two launch platforms, an airfield, facilities for crew members’ pre-launch preparation, oxygen-nitrogen and hydrogen plants, 115 kilometers of roadway and 125 kilometers of rail track.

The construction process is accompanied by many criminal cases related to the funds’ embezzlement, abuse of authority, delays in the payment of wages to workers. This spring alone, the Russian Accounts Chamber has revealed the fact of overstating the estimated cost of the spaceport’s construction by $161.8 million, as a result of which several corruption and criminal scandals broke out at the construction site.

The facility is scheduled for completion by November 30 and the first manned mission is scheduled for launch in 2018.

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