In the city court of Korolev near Moscow, proceedings began on a high-profile criminal case of the former president of the Rocket and Space Corporation (RKK) Energia (a structure of Roscosmos) Vladimir Solntsev, his deputy Stepan Prokhorov and director of CJSC NPP Magratep Oleg Morozov. They are accused of multi-million embezzlement when purchasing an imported electronic component base (ECB IP) for the International Space Station (ISS). Another former deputy of Mr. Solntsev, Alexander Prokhorov, concluded a pre-trial agreement on cooperation with the prosecutor’s office, revealed the mechanism of theft and received a short term due to this. For Mr. Solntsev, this is the second case.
The materials of the criminal case were sent to the Royal City Court after the leadership of the Moscow Regional Prosecutor’s Office approved the 900-page indictment.
The former president of RSC Energia, Vladimir Solntsev, his deputy Stepan Prokhorov, and the director of CJSC NPP Magratep, Oleg Morozov, appeared before the court.
After the recent guilty verdict of the Khimki court in another case, Mr. Solntsev was under house arrest, now the measure of restraint for him has been changed – he has been taken into custody. Stepan Prokhorov is banned from certain actions, and businessman Oleg Morozov is under house arrest. All defendants deny their involvement in embezzlement of budgetary funds.
The criminal prosecution of another defendant, the former general director of JSC NPP Istok, Alexander Borisov, was terminated in June 2022 due to the lack of corpus delicti. The investigation now believes that the rest of the group of fraudsters misled him.
And the former Deputy General Director for Logistics of RSC Energia, Alexander Prokhorov, who entered into a pre-trial agreement on cooperation with the prosecutor’s office, under which he spoke in detail about the circumstances of the theft, in August last year received one year and eight months in prison in a special order. In addition, the court exacted 839 million rubles from him in favor of RKK.
The investigation of the theft was launched at the request of the management of Roskosmos in October 2019. The Main Investigative Department of the ICR for the Moscow Region then opened a criminal case on fraud on an especially large scale (part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), the investigation ended at the end of May 2021.
As follows from the prosecution, in the framework of the implementation of the federal space program in December 2012 between the Federal Space Agency, later transformed into Roskosmos, and RSC Energia OJSC, a state contract was concluded for the creation of a scientific and energy module (NEM) for the ISS, for which more than 15 billion rubles were allocated from the budget. NEM was supposed to supply electricity to the Russian segment of the station, and also be used for scientific experiments. However, it was never delivered to the ISS.
For NEM, it was necessary to purchase EKB IP and certify them. According to the project, no more than 700 million rubles were allocated from the budget for these purposes.
Vladimir Solntsev, who, according to investigators, organized a criminal group of plunderers, ensured that the designers of the RKK, unaware of the impending scam, prepared a memorandum on the need to more than double the cost of EKB IP – up to 1.5 billion rubles. In the future, Alexander Prokhorov helped to achieve an increase in project costs, acting, as they say in the case file, out of selfish and career interests.
Components were purchased through OAO TsNII Cyclone, with which RKK signed a government contract in March 2017. The advance amounted to 1.32 billion rubles. At the same time, as the investigation established, the price of the contract was overestimated by almost three times: according to the conclusion of the appraisal examination, the average market value of the components was only 489 million rubles. In addition, based on the opinion of the involved experts, the investigation concluded that the members of the organized criminal group purchased the necessary components from the manufacturers for a much smaller amount.
Since most of the components were purchased abroad, the money from the Cyclone accounts minus interest went to the settlement accounts of the Magratep and Microcom companies. After that, Magratep signed a similar contract for the supply of components with Alliance Trade and transferred funds from Roscosmos to this company. And Microcom and Alliance Trade then sent them to Rosaero FZC and Somontaj General Trading LLC registered in the UAE, as well as Jushi Com Limited and Seanet Trade Limited registered in Hong Kong. The members of the organized crime group divided the funds remaining in Russia among themselves, according to the investigation.
In total, the criminal group organized by Vladimir Solntsev, according to the TFR, stole 839 million rubles by deceit. A lawsuit for this amount was filed against the defendants – Alexander Prokhorov paid only a few tens of thousands of rubles on it.
The defense of the defendants refrained from commenting. It is worth noting that this trial may end with the second guilty verdict for the ex-head of RSC Energia. As Kommersant has already reported, the Khimki City Court found Vladimir Solntsev and Vladimir Kolmykov, head of the Lavochkin NGO, guilty of committing a crime under Part 2 of Art. 201 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (abuse of authority that entailed grave consequences). They committed the crime while delivering rocket engines to the United States, while working at NPO Energomash JSC. For abuse, Vladimir Solntsev received a six-year sentence, and Vladimir Kolmykov – three years. 662 million rubles were recovered from them in favor of Energomash. as compensation for damages. The convicts appealed the verdict, but the Moscow City Court has not yet scheduled an appeal hearing in this case.