23 Jul 2018 20:33

Roscosmos treason case concerns 2013 events - corporation statement

MOSCOW. July 23 (Interfax) - The ongoing high treason investigation at the Russian space corporation Roscosmos concerns events that took place in 2013, Roscosmos said in a statement.

"A Roscosmos commission set up on the CEO's instructions to conduct an unscheduled inspection of measures to protect state secrets at the TsNIImash Federal State Unitary Enterprise has determined that investigative bodies are probing events dating to 2013, which is also evident from the period for which documents were seized during searches at Roscosmos and TsNIImash," the statement said.

Investigators have no questions for TsNIImash and Roscosmos employees regarding other periods of time, it said.

Kommersant reported earlier that a group of investigators from the Federal Security Service (FSB) started searches at offices of a number of employees of the TsNIImash research institute and the office of Dmitry Paison, the director of the research and analytical center of the United Rocket and Space Corporation.

Kommersant said its information indicated that the investigative procedures were conducted as part of a criminal investigation opened on high treason charges. "The FSB is checking about ten people from the industry for their cooperation with Western special services: based on Kommersant's information, the [security services] have found out that the latter have learned some results of the Russian industry's top secret achievements in hypersonic speed studies," it said.

An informed source said to Interfax, however, that Paison was treated as a witness, while the prime suspect is Viktor Kudryavtsev, a researcher from the institute. The Roscosmos press service confirmed his arrest.

The source told Interfax that "first signals on possible unlawful activities at TsNIImash appeared in the first half of 2013, and this is when law enforcement agencies turned their attention to the institute."

"At the same time, the documents seized date to the last quarter of 2013," he said.

Gen. of the Army Vladimir Popovkin headed Roscosmos, which incorporates TsNIImash, until October 2013, when he was replaced by Col. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko, who served in this capacity until January 2015.

Following the crash of a Proton-M rocket on July 2, 2013, Popovkin visited the crash site without individual protective gear and was exposed to highly toxic rocket fuel vapors, which apparently caused cancer. He died at the Yitzhak Rabin Medical Center in Israel on June 18, 2014. He is buried at the Troyekurovskoye Cemetery in Moscow.