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Prosecutors end probe into Russian space firm chief's case

RIA Novosti

01/12/2006 14:53 MOSCOW, December 1 (RIA Novosti) - Prosecutors have completed their investigation in the case of an aerospace engineering firm head charged with divulging sensitive technology to China, his lawyer said Friday.

"The preliminary investigation is over. We are currently examining the materials of the criminal case. The volume is very big," said Anatoly Yablokov, the lawyer of Tsniimash-Export CEO Igor Reshetin.

Reshetin, detained last month on charges of embezzlement and the illegal transfer of state-controlled technology, will have to remain in custody until February 9, 2007, under a November 29 ruling by the Moscow City Court.

The firm run by Reshetin was set up in 1991 as the export arm of Tsniimash, a leading rocket and space technology developer incorporating Russia's Mission Control Center.

The defendant is charged with transferring precision engineering technology to a Chinese corporation in violation of state export controls, and of diverting 30 million rubles ($1.14 million) through schemes involving front companies.

Two of his deputies - Sergei Tverdokhlebov and Alexander Rozhkin - are also facing criminal charges in connection with the alleged theft.

Analysts say Russian technology may have formed the basis of China's manned space program, w with two successful orbital missions carried out to date.

Reshetin's defense team said earlier they would appeal the court ruling extending his pre-trial detention to February 9.

"Prosecutors have not submitted any new evidence that could serve as a foundation for extending the detention of my client," Yablokov said following Wednesday's court hearing.

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