$126 Million Stolen From Russian Vostochny Cosmodrome Project – Prosecutor General
Russia's Prosecutor General said Monday that 7.5 billion rubles ($126 million) had been stolen during construction of a new spaceport in Russia’s Far East, news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Investigators conducted a massive investigation into corruption and mismanagement at the site of the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a $3 billion project seen in Moscow as vital to secure Russia’s independent access to space.
President Vladimir Putin on a visit to the construction site last year warned contractors that law enforcement agencies were monitoring the use of state funds and that charges would be brought for malpractice.
Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said that a probe of 250 organizations working on the project had discovered “theft that caused 7.5 billion rubles in damages,” RIA Novosti reported.
No arrests were reported in connection with the latest findings, but since Putin’s visit to the cosmodrome in September a handful of officials have been arrested for stealing or squandering state funds allocated for the project, including the head of a major state contractor on the site, Dalspetsstroi.
The new cosmodrome is scheduled for completion by Nov. 30, just in time for a first launch from the spaceport in December, but construction is reported to be several months behind.