World News

Russia investigates suspicious prison death of space official

The logo of Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos is pictured at the ILA Berlin Air Show in Schoenefeld, south of Berlin, Germany, June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian investigators are looking into the death of a senior official for state space agency Roscosmos, who was found dead from stab wounds in a prison cell in Moscow.

The body of Vladimir Yevdokimov, an executive director at the Russian equivalent of NASA, was found in the early hours of Saturday with knife wounds to the chest and neck, Russian news agencies reported.

The Moscow prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation into his death. He had been in custody since December, accused of embezzling 200 million roubles ($3.5 million) from the state-run MiG aircraft producer.

The authorities are treating his death as suspicious, the TASS news agency quoted a law enforcement source as saying.

In a statement, Roscosmos said it would “insist that all the circumstances of his death be established and the case be fully investigated.”

Yevdokimov, who denied the embezzlement charges against him, was due to appear in court on April 30, Roscomos said.

Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Andrew Osborn