Roscosmos accused of embezzling billions in public funds
Roscosmos already saw its reputation questioned after the failure of a Soyuz launch in October 2018. Now the Russian space agency is being accused by the Russian court of accounts of embezzling billions of public investments.
Alexei Kudrin , head of the Accounts Chamber, sounded the alarm in an interview to the 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 its report, the Accounts Chamber recorded 151 irregularities in the work of Roscosmos in 2017 only. 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.
Following this revelation, Roscosmos declared that they were aware of the report conclusions which should be addressed by the new administration (appointed in May 2018). Dmitry Rogozin, head of the agency, asked for an audit to be carried out by the Chamber on all companies participating to the Russian space program. He also approved an anti-corruption plan that should be enforced throughout 2018 and 2020.
On October 11, 2018, Roscosmos was already under scrutiny following a problem with the Soyuz program, the only means of transportation between Earth and the ISS. The MS-10 Soyuz rocket which was supposed to carry American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to the International Space Station (ISS), suffered an engine failure shortly after taking off, forcing the two astronauts to eject.