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Russian Cosmodrome Designer Jailed For Embezzlement

A designer of Russia's new space center in the Far East has been convicted and sentenced to five years in prison on embezzlement charges.

A Moscow court's ruling against Sergei Ostrovsky, a senior engineer at the Russian Defense Ministry's Special Construction Directorate, was issued on June 22.

Ostrovsky pleaded not guilty and said he will appeal the verdict against him.

Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur region was built to reduce Moscow's reliance on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for launches of manned space flights.

But the project has been dogged by reports of corruption.

Several people involved in the planning and construction of the facility have been arrested on embezzlement and fraud charges in recent months.

The maiden launch at the Vostochny Cosmodrome was delayed by one day in April, leading to criticism by visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After that launch, one of the satellites sent into orbit by the rocket soon stopped functioning.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax