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Energia's Lopota Put Under House Arrest In Moscow

The former head of famed Russian space company Energia, which launched the first satellite and manned space flights, was charged with abuse of power and placed under house arrest by a Moscow court May 21.

A spokeswoman for Moscow's Basmanny district court said Vitaly Lopota, who was ousted as president of Energia last year, was put under house arrest until July 14.

"He stands accused of abuse of power," spokeswoman Anna Fadeyeva said. Lopota denies the allegations.

Russia's Investigative Committee -- the country's equivalent of the FBI -- last year said Lopota had illegally authorized Energia to give loans to companies involved in the Sea Launch consortium in which it was a major shareholder.

Sea Launch is a financially troubled service that launches rockets from a mobile sea platform.

Energia's money should have gone towards the manufacture of spaceships in line with international agreements, said the committee, which added the loan scheme caused 41 million rubles in losses for the state.

Since the retirement of the U.S. shuttle, Energia's Soyuz rockets have the sole means for sending humans into space.

Based on reporting by Interfax and AFP