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Designer of GLONASS Dismissed in Embezzlement Scandal

November 12, 2012  - By
Image: GPS World

General Designer of Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation system Yuri Urlichich has been dismissed from his post in the wake of an embezzlement scandal, a spokesperson for RF Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of the military-industrial complex, told Itar-Tass.

Urlichich still holds the position of Director General of Russian Space Systems (RSS), but is no longer the chief designer of Russia’s GLONASS system.

The personnel decision is apparently related to a scandal involving embezzlement of 6.5 billion rubles ($200 million) of the GLONASS programs funds at RSS, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told the RIA Novosti news service on Sunday. Rogozin heads the government’s military-industrial commission.

According to Igor Bozhkov, head of the Moscow Metro Internal Affairs Department, RSS’ initial contract with Russian space agency Roscosmos allowed the company several avenues for embezzlement.

This is just one of a series of corruption scandals coming to light this past week, Ria Novosti reports. Hundreds of millions of dollars disappeared during the GLONASS project as well as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) construction projects. Another real estate scandal resulted in the firing of the defense minister.

No charges were reported against Urlichich or other GLONASS makers as of late Sunday.

The Washington Post is reporting that President Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff was aware of alleged embezzlement of state funds earmarked for GLONASS. Sergei Ivanov said he discussed the probe with police officials but didn’t speak publicly about it for several years, to prevent the culprits from covering up their deeds. Ivanov, a KGB veteran like Putin, said years in the spy service taught him to be sly with the enemy. As a former cabinet member, Ivanov previously oversaw the development of the GLONASS system.

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