Roscosmos official arrested following an investigation, an official from the Russian space agency Roscosmos has reached a plea deal with prosecutors after their arrest together with associates. The individual has been charged with embezzling around $5 million in state funds, Russia’s legal information agency RAPSI has reported.

Ekaterina Averyanova was the head of the Directorate for Legal Support of the Scientific Production Association (NPO) S.A. Lavochkin, which is a division of Roscosmos. According to her lawyer Alexey Kovrizhkin, she will be placed under house arrest after she partially admitted guilt and struck a deal with investigators.

Averyanova was arrested along with Igor Tretyakov, owner of the Tretyakov and Partners law firm, and Sergey Lemeshevsky, the former director at the science institute. According to the investigation, they signed contracts with the Tretyakov company for the provision of legal services, which were performed by full-time lawyers of the company.

In November, the head of Russia’s Audit Chamber Alexey Kudrin accused the management of Roscosmos, of financial irregularities including “stolen” billions.

“We have serious problems with Roskosmos,” Kudrin said in November.

“Procurement procedures are bad, prices are too high, many projects are unfinished or halted, and funds stand unused for months, and several billion have been lost – stolen – and investigations are ongoing,” the former finance minister added.

Roskosmos’ reputation has already been hit by the failure of a Soyuz rocket in October. A 2017 report by the Russian audit court signaled a total of 151 irregularities within the space agency accounts, totaling 785.5 billion rubles ($16.4 billion), Russian media reported.

Roscosmos had already seen its reputation dented after the failure of a Soyuz launch in October 2018. Since then the Russian space agency has been accused by the Russian court of accounts of embezzling billions of public investments.

Roscosmos official arrested

Alexei Kudrin, head of the Accounts Chamber, sounded the alarm in an interview on TV channel Rossyia 1. “We have big problems with Roscosmos,” he said, before listing them: “Procurement procedures are carried out incorrectly, prices are too high, some funds are spent on unfinished projects or on projects that are simply idle, funds on several accounts have not been used for months. And besides that, several billions have been lost – which means, in essence, stolen.”

In a report, the Accounts Chamber recorded over 150 irregularities in the work of Roscosmos in 2017 alone. In total, up to 785.5 billion rubles ($10.4 billion) were affected. That represents 40% of all violations reported by the Accounts Chamber in 2017, according to Gazeta.ru.

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