Roscosmos adviser Ivan Safronov arrested until September 6

Roscosmos adviser Ivan Safronov arrested until September 6

Moscow’s Lefortovo court on Tuesday ruled to place in pretrial custody Ivan Safronov, a senior official with Russia’s state-run space corporation Roscosmos, who is suspected of high treason.

"The investigators’ motion is granted. Custody for the period of one month and 30 days is chosen as a measure of pretrial restraint for Safronov," Judge Sergei Ryabtsev announced.

Safronov’s lawyer Oleg Yeliseyev said the defense team would appeal the decision, TASS reported.

A law enforcement source said that Safronov would be taken to Moscow’s Lefortovo detention facility, where he will be placed in quarantine upon arrival.

Safronov, a media adviser to Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin, pleaded not guilty in the court. According to a TASS source, he refused to testify during questioning.

The FSB public relations service informed that Safronov is suspected of communicating confidential state secrets to a representative of one of NATO’s intelligence services and was arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents. Prosecution launched criminal proceedings on the count of state treason against Safronov, who is now facing 20 years behind bars. The FSB added that the investigation continues. Earlier, Roscosmos informed that Safronov had been arrested but underlined that the arrest is not linked to his current duties as Roscosmos advisor.

"Safronov’s case is about providing the Czech Republic’s special services with military and technical information about Russia’s arms deliveries to Middle East and Africa back in 2017," lawyer Oleg Yeliseyev said.

According to case materials, read out by Yeliseyev, Safronov "committed those actions for reasons of personal gain."

Another lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, said that "Roscosmos is mentioned in case materials only as his [Safronov's] present-day place of work." "The investigator said the case does not concern Safronov’s journalistic activities," he added.

He also said the United States "is mentioned in materials of the case as a country that received classified information via Czech special services."

"Special services kept an eye on Safronov for quite a while. According to the investigation, Safronov was recruited by Czech special services in 2012 and fulfilled their assignment in 2017," the lawyer said.

In turn, lawyer Sergei Malyukin said investigators had submitted to the judge what is believed to be the suspect’s correspondence with Czech special services, but defense lawyers so far had no chance to study its contents.

A source familiar with the materials of the case said the case file contains "an expert’s statement, which confirms that Safronov had divulged state secrets."

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