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Top Russian rocket official arrested on “high treason”

July 25, 2018

By Chris Forrester

The troubled Russian ‘Roscosmos’ space agency is facing another scandal. Ten senior staff are reportedly as being suspected of working for “Western intelligence services”.

News agency TASS is reporting that Viktor Kurdryavtsev, a research fellow at Russia’s Central Research Institute, and a lead institution of Roscosmos, has been detained “on high treason” charges. TASS is quoting Yevregy Yenikeyev of Russia’s Public Monitoring Commission, and separately by Roscosmos spokesman Vladimir Ustimenko, confirming the arrest.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) raided the offices of staff at the Central Research Institute, as well as that of Dmitry Paison, the director of the Roscosmos-backed research institute.

TASS reports that Paison has tendered his resignation.

There have been numerous reports of alleged corruption at Roscosmos, and reports of misappropriation and embezzlement by officials involved on the nation’s Proton and Angara rocket systems. Both rockets are used extensively by ’western’ satellite operators.

Earlier this month, Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister overseeing reform of the space sector, said that the Khrunichev Centre (in Moscow, and where rockets are manufactured) embezzled $182 million (£118 million) in 2014 alone.

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