31 Jan 2019 17:42

Ex-head of Ukrkosmos suspected of abuse of office in embezzlement case - NABU

KYIV. Jan 31 (Interfax) - Investigators from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) notified an ex-head of Ukrkosmos that he is suspected of abuse of office on January 30.

According to the press service of the NABU, he is the third suspect in the criminal proceedings investigated by the bureau. He is charged with abuse of office.

The former freelance advisor to the director general of the State Space Agency of Ukraine and an intermediary are also implicated in the case (they were notified of the suspicion in December 2018). On January 30, the freelance advisor was also informed about a new suspicion of organizing abuse of office by an official.

According to the NABU, the investigators believe that in 2011-2017, the suspects organized a scheme through which they withdrew abroad and laundered $8.245 million intended for the construction of a rocket carrier at the facilities of Pivdenmash from a $292.4-million loan from Export Development Canada (EDC) against guarantees of the Ukrainian government.

"For this, the former director general of Ukrkosmos, at the direction of his advisor, signed and handed over documents demanding the transfer of funds to the account of a company controlled by the freelancer advisor to representatives of the general contractor of the project to create the National Satellite Communications System of Ukraine - the Canadian corporation Macdonald, Dettwiler, and Associates Corp. As a result, $8.245 million received by the freelance advisor's company, which was registered in the Republic of Cyprus, was used to his own advantage," the NABU said.

That disrupted the launch of the first Ukrainian telecommunications satellite, Lybid, a component of the development of the National Satellite Communications System of Ukraine. However, the government continues to service the loan received by the state enterprise, on which some 6 billion hryvni has already been paid to the Canadian export agency.

The State Space Agency of Ukraine and Canada's MDA signed a contract or the creation of the Lybid in 2009. MDA is the main contractor. Funding came from the EDC loan.

The satellite, which used the Express 1000HT platform of the Reshetnev Company, has been in the care and custody of the Russian manufacturer at the request of the Canadian general contractor since summer 2014.

The launch of the Lybid was initially scheduled for 2012, but the dates were repeatedly changed for various reasons. The implementation of the project was jeopardized by the unification of Crimea with Russia and Ukraine's loss of the ground infrastructure involved in the project, which remained on the peninsula.

A new command center and a new command-measurement point were created on the mainland in 2014-2015.

In October 2017, the Ukrainian government supported the State Space Agency of Ukraine's proposal to an additional $17 million for the project due to the increase in the costs. In November of that year,the State Space Agency of Ukraine presented plans to launch the satellite in late 2018.

On February 26, 2018, Ukrkosmos filed a lawsuit with the London Court of International Arbitration against Canada's MDA over an attempt by the Canadian company to unilaterally sever the 2010 contract for the creation and launch of the Lybid.