Russian prosecutors have said that more than $150m was embezzled during the construction of the $5bn Vostochny Cosmodrome in Siberia, according to a report in The Moscow Times.
Speaking in a televised interview on Tuesday, 20 November, Alexander Kurennoy, a spokesman for the Prosecutor General’s Office, said: "Prosecutors have uncovered more than 17,000 violations of the law since construction began in 2014."
The violations amount to $153m in losses, Kurennoy said, up from $114m that the prosecutor general estimated has been stolen in 2015.
He added that more than 140 criminal cases had been brought against an estimated 1,000 officials and contractors since 2014, recouping $360,000.
The main construction works were completed on the spaceport in January 2016.
In February of this year, Yury Khrizman, the former head of state-owned contractor Dalspetsstroi, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud after a court found that he had overpaid suppliers for materials in return for kickbacks. His son Mikhail received five and a half years. Vladimir Ashikhmin, the chief accountant on the project, was sent down for seven years and Victor Chudov, the former speaker of the Khabarovsky Region Legislative Assembly, was given six years.
Image: A Soyuz 2.1a launched from Vostochny in April 2016 (Kremlin Press Service)
- Putin threatens subcontractors with jail over cosmodrome "embezzlement"
- Russia’s Vostochny spaceport delayed until April 2016 at least
- ‘I’ll rip heads off’, says Rogozin as Russia’s cosmodrome reaches ‘critical moment’
- Delays prompt Russian government to take direct control of space centre construction