MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) – Police have uncovered the embezzlement of over 15 million rubles ($456,000) from the Baikonur space center which Russia leases from Kazakhstan for space launches, Russia's Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.
“The fraud involved the signing of fictitious agreements. The damage totaled over 15 million rubles,” the ministry said in a statement.
A criminal case has been opened into embezzlement, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars.
The number of corruption-related crimes recorded in Russia rose by almost 25 percent in 2012, according to a report by the Prosecutor General’s Office submitted to parliament in April.
Corruption has pervaded Russia's administration, particulary in the allocation of budgetary funds for government defense contracts, transactions involving federal or municipal property, and the exercise of supervisory functions over private business entities, the report said.
The Transparency International global watchdog estimated the cost of corruption in Russia at $300 billion in 2012, placing Russia 133rd out of 174 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index last year.