| 23 July 2024, Tuesday |

Russia arrests head of space equipment maker on suspicion of major fraud

The head of a company that makes navigation systems for Russia’s space programme was arrested in Moscow and charged with major fraud, state media reported on Friday.

TASS news agency quoted an unidentified law enforcement official as saying that Yevgeny Fomichev had been interrogated and charged with large-scale fraud, which carries a prison term of up to 10 years and a million rouble ($10,972) fine.

TASS said Moscow’s Basmanny District Court, which often handles high-profile cases, had ordered Fomichev to be held in pre-trial detention until Feb. 21 at the request of Russia’s Investigative Committee, which deals with serious crimes.

Fomichev is head of NPP Geophysics-Cosmos, a company whose website says it manufactures “optical electronic orientation and navigation devices for spacecraft”. It says that almost all Russian spacecraft use its equipment.

The website includes a nine-page anti-corruption policy that says management has a key role in creating a culture of zero-tolerance towards corruption.

Russia’s space programme suffered a huge setback in August when its Luna-25 spacecraft smashed into the surface of the moon while attempting to land there.

An investigation blamed a malfunction in an on-board control unit for the failure of Russia’s first moon mission for 47 years.

  • Reuters