Russian missile centre under probe for alleged export breach

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Russia's missile centre in the Urals is under investigation for alleged failure to declare sensitive technical documents sent to Brazil worth $3.6 million, a Russian daily reported.

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The local customs service said it had seized the documents in May, which could have been used to produce weapons of mass destruction, and opened an investigation into an attempt to smuggle them abroad. The service gave no further details at the time.

Russian daily Kommersant quoted a source in the Federal Customs Service as saying the Makeyev missile center had an export license, but had failed to declare the documents "containing information on missile test data reading methods".

"The investigation was only recently launched, and no charges have been filed," a customs official said, adding that it was the first case of a customs probe against a state-run enterprise in the defense sector.

The center, which designs ballistic missiles for submarines, boosters, launch vehicles, and small spacecraft, confirmed on its Web site that it cooperated with the Brazilian government in its satellite launch program, but said the customs incident must be a misunderstanding, Kommersant reported.