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Investigators Find Financial Irregularities and Misuse of Funds at Roscosmos

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 14, 2011

Investigators examining a string of launch failures by Roscosmos have identified a “major list of financial irregularities and a misuse of budgetary funds” at the Russian space agency. Investigators believe that the financial issues have contributed to the loss of four rockets and six satellites over the past nine months. Law enforcement authorities have now become involved in  the investigation.

This is intriguing. Although Roscosmos is a civilian agency, it is closely tied in with the nation’s defense sector, which is notoriously currupt. Back in May, Reuters reported:

A fifth of Russia’s state defence spending is stolen every year by corrupt officials, dishonest generals and crooked contractors, Russia’s chief military prosecutor said in an interview published on Tuesday.

President Dmitry Medvedev says endemic corruption is holding back Russia’s development, but anti-bribery groups say the problem has become worse since Medvedev was steered into the Kremlin by his mentor Vladimir Putin in 2008.

“Huge money is being stolen – practically every fifth rouble and the troops are still getting poor quality equipment and arms,” chief military prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky told Russia’s official gazette, Rossiiskaya Gazeta. “Every year more and more money is set aside for defence but the successes are not great,” he said, adding that kickbacks and fictitious contracts were being used to defraud the state.

It will be interesting to see what the investigation of Roscosmos reveals — and how much of the results will be publicized. The news report above is strangely short of specifics — a trait all too common in Russian media coverage of sensitive subjects.

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