Billions of rubles have been funneled out of Russia’s federal Roscosmos space agency over the past five years in corruption schemes, the country’s top investigator has revealed this week.
Prosecutors uncovered 1.6 billion rubles ($24.6 million) worth of fraud in the Roscosmos and the Rostec state-run defense corporation last year. Overall, fraud involving Russian state-run space and defense corporations totaled $1 billion in 2018, according to prosecutors.
“There’s no end in sight, billions are stolen” from Roscosmos, Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin was quoted as saying by the Govorit Moskva radio station Wednesday.
“It’s a very simple scheme: The money is first moved abroad, then the family leaves, and then the defendant follows [them],” he added at a forum in St. Petersburg.
Corruption cases are public knowledge and are uncovered thanks to internal audits and inspections, Roscosmos was cited as saying by the state-run TASS news agency in response to Bastrykin’s comments.
Bastrykin's scathing comments came as news emerged that the head of a Roscosmos subsidiary in charge of satellite and ballistic-missile research had fled Russia in April and tendered his resignation from abroad after his institute fell target to at least 14 seperate audits and investigations.