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Russian space port bosses face fraud charges

November 2, 2015

Senior officials at Russia’s new Vostochny space port have been charged with alleged fraud. Russia’s Politikar special police force are alleging that there has been an $84 million series of corrupt payments made during the construction of the cosmodrome.

Russian news agency TASS says that the former CEO at the project, Yuri Khrizman, and the contractor’s chief accountant, Vladimir Ashikhmin. “According to the investigators Khrizman and Ashikhmin in 2011-2013 illegally spent 5.16 billion roubles of the 22.6 billion roubles disbursed in advance payments under eleven state contracts for building Vostochny spaceport facilities. The funds were illegally used to repay Dalspetstroi’s liabilities under earlier loans, which resulted in great material losses for the Russian budget,” quoted TASS.

Khriman was arrested on October 31st, and Ashikhmin, on November 2014. Both have been in custody since their arrests.

Construction of the Vostochny spaceport began near the village of Uglegorsk, the Amur Region, in 2010. It is to become the first national civil space site. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin earlier said investigations were in progress into 20 criminal cases opened over embezzlement and fraud at Vostochny.

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