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Hearing into Vostochny space center embezzlement case begins in Russia’s Far East

May 05, 2016, 11:54 UTC+3 KHABAROVSK
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© Marina Lystseva/TASS

KHABAROVSK, May 5. /TASS/. The Far Eastern district military court in Khabarovsk on Thursday started the consideration of a criminal case on the merits into the embezzlement during the construction of the Vostochny space center in Russia’s Amur region.

The four suspects in the case are Yury Hrizman, the former head of state construction agency Dalspetstroy, his son Mikhail Hrizman, former Duma speaker of the Khabarovsk region Viktor Chudov and former chief accountant of Dalspetstroy Vladimir Ashihmin.

"They are represented by seven lawyers, the prosecution side is represented by several prosecutors," a spokesperson for the court Anna Atroschenkova said.

The military court earlier decided that the trial will be held behind the closed doors as the case materials contain state secrets.

The court earlier extended custody of Mikhail Hrizman and Chudov until October 12. The house arrest of Ashihmin and Yury Hrizman has been also extended for the same term.

The Hrizmans and Chudov are accused of large-scale embezzlement as part of a group. Investigators say in 2006-2009 they embezzled around 106 million rubles ($1.6 million at the current exchange rate) belonging to Dalspetstroy. Yury Hrizman and Ashihmin are accused of abusing their powers during the construction that resulted in the damage to the state worth 5.2 billion rubles ($78.8 million).

Embezzlement carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to 1 million rubles. Abuse of powers carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in jail.

The construction of the Vostochny space center began in 2010. Vostochny occupies an area of about 700 sq. km. It is destined to become the first national facility for civilian space launches, ensuring Russia’s full-scale access to outer space and reducing the dependence of the Russian space industry on the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

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