Former RSC Energia CEO Arrested for Alleged Misappropriation of Funds

Former RSC Energia CEO Vladimir Solntsev has been arrested on charges of misappropriating more than 1 billion rubles ($13 million) by inflating prices on the procurement of electronic components for an International Space Station science module. Tass reports:

Solntsev’s guilt is proven by the memos, signed by the former official, as well as by witnesses’ testimonies, the investigators say. According to one case actor, a former Energia manager, who testified against Solntsev, the former CEO is a head of a crime group. Solntsev denies guilt and says the criminal case is “Roscosmos’s crackdown on the old team.” Currently, Solntsev works as an advisor to the United Aircraft Corporation CEO.

Three more suspects, including Solntsev’s deputy, have absconded and are wanted, the court said. “Suspects Ignatkin [Solntsev’s deputy], Morozov and Stapovich have absconded; an arrest warrant was issued against them,” the judge said.

According to the case materials, Solntsev and his accomplices used a chain of affiliated companies for misappropriation. Besides Solntsev, Istok Science and Production Corporation (a Rostec subsidiary) CEO Alexander Borisov and former Energia managers Stepan and Alexander Prokhorov were apprehended earlier over suspicion of fraud.

A source in the law enforcement told TASS earlier that searches were conducted at a number of premises belonging to former Energia managers and an Istok senior official over a case of a major misappropriation during shipments.

RSC Energia Chief Questions Schedule for Elon Musk’s Moon Plan

SpaceX Crew Dragon Weldment Structure (Credit: SpaceX)

The head of Russia’s most prominent spaceflight company questioned whether Elon Musk’s SpaceX will be able to launch people around the moon next year and said Russia plans to revive tourism flights to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2020.

“As for the state of affairs specifically at Elon Musk’s company, it would be difficult to carry out such a mission in 2018, and even in 2020,” Vladimir Solntsev, general director of RSC Energia, the primary contractor for Russia’s human spaceflight program, said in a wide-ranging Q&A with the Russian news agency TASS.

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Meet RSC Energia’s New President

Vladimir Lvovich Solntsev. (Credit: Energia)
Vladimir Lvovich Solntsev. (Credit: Energia)

Vladimir Lvovich Solntsev

President of S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia

Born: February 8, 1957 in Tula (Russia).

Graduated from Tula Polytechnic Institute and the Russian Academy of Foreign Trade

He began working at Tula Machine-Building Plant, rose through the ranks from a foreman to the Deputy Directior of Finance and Marketing Joint Stock Company Tulamashzavod, Tula.

From 1995 Solntsev worked in the Mezhkombank Group as President of Investment Company Mezhinvest, Director of the Bank Investment Programs Department, then headed the Department for Military-Technical Cooperation SUE Aviation Military-Industrial Complex Sykhoy, Moscow.


Embattled RSC Energia President Lopota Suspended from Post

Energia_logoEmbattled RSC Energia President Vitaly Lopota, who is the subject of a criminal investigation for alleged abuse of office, was suspended from his post on Friday by the company’s board of directors, ending a seven-year reign over the space company.

The move appears to be part of an effort by Russia’s government to obtain majority control over Energia, of which it owns a 38-percent share. The directors elected Igor Komarov as its new chairman of the board. Komarov is chief of the Russian United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC), the government-owned company tasked with consolidating Russia’s sprawling space sector.