Arrests made in probe of Russian satellite program embezzlement

May 17, 2013 at 1:07 PM

MOSCOW, May 17 (UPI) -- Two men connected with a high-tech company have been arrested on suspicion of embezzling funds from Russia's satellite GPS program, officials said.

The current chief executive officer of Synertech and its former chief executive officer were taken into custody following allegations $2.6 million was embezzled from the federal Glonass satellite navigation system, the Interior Ministry's Moscow Department said Friday.

The money was taken "supposedly as payment" for conducting a research project, RIA Novosti reported.

Synertech is a joint venture between Russian Space Systems with two European companies, EADS Astrium and Tesat Spacecom.

The Interior Ministry said it suspected Russian Space Systems' management of creating research contracts with commercial organizations that had neither the equipment nor the qualified personnel to carry out the stipulated work.

The ministry earlier reported the embezzlement of more than $18 million of federal budget funds allocated for the Glonass program and initiated criminal proceedings.

Glonass, officially launched in 1993, is Russia's answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System.

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