Senior manager of Russian Space agency flees abroad after billions disappear

Scandals continue to shake the Russian space sector: following the disappearance of billions of rubles in construction sites and megaprojects, the senior manager of one of Roscosmos’s key subsidiaries has now fled the country.

The Russian news outlet Kommersant reported that the unprecedented incident took place at the Scientific Research Institute of Space Instrumentation (SRI SI), which develops and produces radio apparatus and electronics. The company was founded in 1985 and has worked on a navigation system based on GLONASS.

The company’s CEO, Yuri Yaskin, has left Russia. In April, he received authorization for a business trip to Europe, and was issued a passport for this purpose, a source in law enforcement told Kommersant. However, at the end of the period allocated for the business trip, Yaskin did not return to Russia, and Rososmos received a letter of voluntary resignation from him.

Yaskin made his urgent departure from Russia after Roscosmos’s internal auditors began working at the SRI SI under orders from Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin.

“Apparently he was afraid that they would discover facts of embezzlement and withdrawal of budget funds, and so he preferred to leave the country before the start of the proceedings,” one source told Kommersant.

Russia’s Federal Security Service has been called in to assist with the audit.

Yaskin’s fears were apparently well justified: in February, RIA Novosti reported that 14 criminal cases had been initiated based on the findings of the internal Roscosmos audit.

The need to conduct a thorough audit of the space sector companies was touched on at an expanded session of Russia’s Security Council led by President Vladimir Putin, a senior government official said: “One could say that the decision to audit was sanctioned at the very top.”

  Roscosmos, Russia, Rogozin


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