March 12, 19:21
MOSCOW, November 11 (Itar-Tass) — General Designer of Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation system Yuri Urlichich has been dismissed from his post, spokesperson for RF Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin who is in charge of the military-industrial complex, Lydia Mikhailova told Itar-Tass.
According to her, the corresponding document was signed by the deputy prime minister on Sunday. “There was a related request from head of the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) Vladimir Popovkin. Rogozin satisfied it and today signed the document on Urlichich,” Mikhailova said.
Urlichich still holds the position of Director General of JSC Russian Space Systems (RSS).
This personnel decision regarding Urlichich is apparently directly related to the exposed financial irregularities in the implementation of the GLONASS navigation project, which includes both the civilian and defence components. As it became known on November 9, police exposed major embezzlement in Russian Space Systems, according to head of the police department of the Moscow Metro Igor Bozhkov, who till the end of July this year worked in the criminal investigation department of the RF Interior Ministry that was engaged in the investigation of this case.
“One criminal case under the RF Criminal Code article ‘abuse of office’ was opened – against the management of the organisation,” he said. Bozhkov did not disclose in the names, explaining that “this is a complex matter.” “The investigation is continuing. It is necessary to consolidate and document all the facts,” he said. According to the police representative, funds to Russian Space Systems were provided by Roskosmos. “In the formation of the design specification a number of schemes were made that made it possible to embezzle money,” Bozhkov said. He specified that about 2.5 years ago the 4th Directorate of the Interior Ministry (MVD), which he headed, started probing into the information about the embezzlement of budget funds allocated for the development and modernisation of the GLONASS system.
“The documenting of criminal activities of this organisation was carried out during this time. I reported the confirmed facts to (the current Interior Minister of Russia) Vladimir Kolokoltsev, who at the time headed the MVD Main Directorate for Moscow. He informed the interior minister,” Bozhkov said.
A report in the investigation progress was made at a meeting with Sergei Ivanov who then held the post of RF Deputy Prime Minister. Then Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, head of the MVD Main Directorate for Moscow Vladimir Kolokoltsev and Roskosmos head Vladimir Popovkin were present at the meeting.
Head of the Main MVD Directorate for Moscow Anatoly Yakunin for his part promised to carry through this case investigation. “The case investigation will be carried through by a reinforced investigation team,” he said, stressing that the investigation is controlled by the Russian interior minister. At the same time, Yakunin said that there is no pressure on the investigation. “And even if such attempts are made, they will be suppressed,” the head of the Moscow police warned.
According to the Russian Interior Ministry, the leaders of the RSS, which concluded contracts on research work with commercial organisations that have no own logistics and staff professionals of the required qualification, are suspected in the illegal activities.
“Officers of the Main Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Department of the Russian Interior Ministry found that the works were actually performed by the regular employees of the company, and the payment for allegedly executed contracts was transferred to accounts of two controlled firms. Then the funds were withdrawn through a chain of fly-by-night companies and misappropriated,” the ministry said.
The Russian Federal Space Agency has conducted an in-house investigation: the facts of the funds’ misappropriation were confirmed, the Interior Ministry said.
Moscow’s economic security police have exposed the company where the stolen money was transferred to. “The police revealed the fact of stealing a total of two billion roubles, of which about 600 million were transferred to accounts of fly-by-night companies,” the police said.