[SIZE=5]Russia's space technology institute boss spying for China[/SIZE]
MOSCOW, Russia (AP) -- The head of a rocket and space technology company linked to Russia's space agency has been arrested on espionage charges and
accused of delivering sensitive technology to China in violation of state export controls, the Federal Security Service said Monday.
Igor Reshetin, director of TsNIIMASH-Export, is charged with the illegal transfer of state-controlled technology to a Chinese company, according to
the press service of the Federal Security Service, or FSB.
Reshetin is also charged with stealing 30 million rubles ($1 million, 850,000 euros) through a scheme involving fake companies and falsified
documents, and two of his deputies are charged in connection with the alleged theft, it said.
The company -- owned by the state-controlled Central Research Institute for Machine Building, known by the acronym TsNIIMASH -- declined to comment
and referred questions to a lawyer who could not immediately be reached. TsNIIMASH officials also declined to comment.
TsNIIMASH is a research institute of the Russian space agency, Rosaviakosmos, agency spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko said. He said the space agency
would not comment on the case Monday.
TsNIIMASH-Export is based outside Moscow in the town of Korolyov -- a space industry center that is home to the mission control facility for Russian
space flights. Its Web site says it was established in 1991 and has fulfilled more than 120 contracts with space organizations and enterprises.
Operating license obtained in 1996
According to the site, the company has been operating under a license from Rosaviakosmos since 1996. It lists one of its main activities as
"long-term cooperation with U.S., European and Chinese aerospace organizations."
The FSB identified the Chinese entity to which Reshetin allegedly delivered the technology in violation of state controls as TOCHMA -- a Russian
acronym for Precision Engineering -- which it said was an export-import corporation. It did not say what the technology was.
The ITAR-Tass news agency reported that the charges might have involved what it said was a 1996 deal in which TsNIIMASH-Export was to provide the
Chinese company with a report on technologies that can be used in building manned spacecraft.
Russia sold China the technology that formed the basis of its manned space program, which launched a two-man crew last month on its second successful
orbital mission. China has become the biggest foreign customer for Russia's weapons industry.
Last year, a Russian physicist was convicted of spying for China and sentenced to 14 years in prison for providing allegedly sensitive information
that he argued was not classified and said had been published in part in scientific magazines.
The physicist, Valentin Danilov, was initially acquitted but was retried and convicted last November in what human rights groups said was a crackdown
by Russian authorities on scholars. his sentence was later reduced by one year.
The FSB said Reshetin was charged October 25. It said he and the other suspects -- his deputy, Sergei Tverdokhlebov and an assistant, Alexander
Rozhkin -- were being held in custody because of the severity of the charges and because they allegedly tried to pressure people involved in the