MOSCOW, November 9 - RAPSI. The police have uncovered that 6.5 billion rubles ($206.14 million) were embezzled at Russian Space Systems during the GLONASS system's development, Igor Bozhkov, the head of the Moscow Metro Internal Affairs Department, told journalists on Friday.
"I can report that a 6.5 billion ruble ($206.14 million) embezzlement was uncovered through the use of various investigative measures," he said. "This concerns the management of Russian Space Systems. A criminal case has been initiated."
He said the investigation has been underway for six months.Meanwhile, a Russian Space Systems representative refused to comment on the information. At the same time, he said he was bewildered that information regarding an investigation would be disseminated by the head of the metro police if it is being conducted by the Interior Ministry.
Bozhkov said the Federal Space Agency is allocating funds to create the GLONASS system and Russian Space Systems is a contractor tasked with developing technical specifications.
"The specifications had various schemes that would allow funds to be withdrawn for further explotaition," Bozhkov said.
The Interior Ministry reported on Wednesday that the police had found a firm to whose accounts funds allocated for GLONASS had been transferred, and proceeded to conduct a search.
According to the police, 2 billion rubles ($63.43 million) were withdrawn, and about 600 million ($19.02 million) were transferred to the accounts of fly-by-night firms.
The Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), which was officially launched in 1993, is a Russian counterpart to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). It fixes the location and speed of surface, sea and air objects to within an accuracy of one meter.