Russia’s new Vostochny Space Centre has lost at least 172 million dollars through theft, and top officials have been jailed.
Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee says, it is handling 12 more criminal cases linked to theft in this mega-project, which President Vladimir Putin sees as a strategic priority for Russia, because of its huge commercial potential.
Vostochny was Russia’s first purpose-built civilian site for commercial space launches. The first launch took place in April 2016, and there have been four more since.
Professor Mark Galeotti – who is a Russia expert at the Royal United Services Institute – points out, dependency on mega-projects almost invariably creates massive opportunities for embezzlement.