VOLGOGRAD, May 18 - RAPSI. A court has banned the advertising of the ignominious MMM-2011 Ponzi scheme in Volgograd region.

The prosecutor's office has suspended the project, suspecting it of being a financial pyramid, and filed a lawsuit against its operations.

The court has also imposed a ban on the web site of MMM-2011 founder Sergei Mavrodi.

Prosecutors in Moldova have also opened a criminal investigation into the activities of Sergei Mavrodi's MMM-2011. Mavrodi was the notorious mastermind of the MMM Ponzi scheme, which robbed millions of Russians of their savings in 1994.

MMM-2011 (the three letters stand for "We Can Do a Lot" in Russian) uses an online payment system, WebMoney, to allow investors to buy tickets that work like shares, but have no real value. The project's mastermind has promised investors returns of 20-30 percent per month.

A former mathematician, Mavrodi was released from prison in 2007 after serving a sentence for offenses relating to the collapse of the original MMM. He described the new project as a "financial social network."