MOSCOW, July 10 - RAPSI. The Interior Ministry has stated that funds for developing the Global Navigation Satellite System or GLONASS were misspent and has opened a criminal case in this regard, the ministry reports on Tuesday.

According to the Interior Ministry press release, Russian Space Systems executives are suspected to have contracted companies to undertake research which did not have appropriate facilities or personnel for the job.

Ministry officers have found that in fact the work was carried out by staff at Russian Space Systems, while payment for the alleged contract works were remitted to the accounts of two companies controlled by the suspects. Subsequently the funds were laundered through a system of fly-by-night companies.

The audit by the federal space authority has confirmed the misspending. A criminal case has been opened for abuse of power entailing serious consequences, with a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.