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Contractor at Delayed Russian Spaceport Has Equipment Seized in Debt Dispute

Construction of Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome

Local bailiffs have seized construction equipment from a contractor behind on its debts at Russia's troubled Vostochny Cosmodrome, news agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday, even as President Vladimir Putin's December deadline to complete construction nears.

The equipment will be returned when the United Energy Construction Corporation (UECC) pays back the 27 million rubles ($483,500) it owes to another Vostochny contractor, Sistemy I Seti, RIA reported.

Vostochny, a $3 billion project in the Far East, is a high priority project for the Kremlin as Russia's only major operational spaceport, the Soviet-built Baikonur, is located in Kazakhstan. Construction of the new spaceport, however, has been plagued by corruption scandals and has missed several deadlines.

In an effort to keep construction on track, Putin has in recent months given Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin increasingly greater control over the site. But problems continue to emerge on a seemingly weekly basis, with one official report in April listing over 1,600 labor law violations.

The seized hardware, consisting of dozens of pieces of equipment, will be given to Sistemy I Seti if UECC does not pay up, the Amur bailiffs said, RIA reported.

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