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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Researcher Says No Secrets Sold

The head of a leading rocket and space research center denied at the start of his trial Friday that he had illegally sold weapons technology to China and misappropriated funds.

Igor Reshetin, head of TsNIIMash-Export of the Central Research Institute for Machine Building, told reporters at Moscow's Lefortovo District Court that he denied the accusations as "sheer fiction."

"I haven't done anything they accuse me of," Reshetin said in televised remarks. "There were no secrets in that; it was absolutely open."

Reshetin was arrested in October 2005 after an almost two-year investigation into a contract with the same Chinese company implicated in the case of Valentin Danilov, a physicist who was convicted of selling classified information on space technology to China.

If convicted of illegally exporting technology, Reshetin could face up to seven years in prison.

Reshetin, along with three colleagues at the institute, Sergei Vizir, Mikhail Ivanov and Alexander Rozhkin, is also being tried on charges of costing the state 110 million rubles ($4.2 million) through smuggling and the misappropriation of funds.

The trial is one of several opened against researchers with foreign contacts in recent years.

TsNIIMash-Export was founded in 1991 to handle foreign space contracts. It has signed and fulfilled more than 120 agreements with China, the United States and European countries.