MOSCOW, June 7 - RAPSI. Investigators have opened a criminal case for attempted fraud involving the MMM-2011 investment company upon the Moscow Prosecutor's Office's request, the office reports on Thursday.
According to the Interior Ministry, unidentified individuals posted online ads in January 2011 stating that the MMM-2011 project, which in Russian means, "We Can Do a Great Deal," is open to all interested parties, who will receive a 20-percent monthly return on their investment.
"These individuals had neither the intention, nor the possibility to keep their promise," the police said.
The case has been initiated for "attempted large-scale fraud committed by an organized group," which carries up to a 10-year custodial sentence.
Meanwhile, investigators so far see no reason to open a case against MMM-2011 organizer Sergei Mavrodi, his counsel Roman Tabachkov told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com). He said Mavrody is only doing private consultations.
In late May, Mavrodi, who is known for running a massive MMM pyramid scheme in the 1990's, suspended payments under the project for two weeks. He said payments would resume later, but would be subject to a number of tough restrictions. Some journalists regarded this as a sign of the scheme's imminent collapse. The next day, he announced the launch of the МММ-2012 project.
Organizers say МММ-2011 has attracted over 35 million investors.
Law enforcement authorities have expressed their concern about the project, but the scheme continues to exist without legal problems.