MOSCOW, May 30 (RAPSI) - The police in the eastern state of Assam have arrested six executives of Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox, including three Russians, for running a pyramid scheme, the Times of India reports on Thursday.

The police believe that the three Russians, identified as Alexei Muratov, Danis Rosaov and Andre Kilyn, the firm's representatives in Mumbai Dinesh Kotian and Rimish Balan, and Nabajit Das, a local agent in Guwahati, were duping customers in Assam into joining a pyramid scheme once used by the infamous Russian company MMM. One of the Russians allegedly advertised the company by pretending to be a journalist, the newspaper reports.

In April, the police in another state, Andhra Pradesh, issued a warning, telling people not to invest in Sergei Mavrodi's MMM scheme widely advertised on the Internet, saying investors risk losing their funds. To join the scheme, local residents were asked to contribute 5,000 rupees (about $90). Reports said the Indian MMM entrepreneurs sought to promote their scheme in a number of Indian states.

Between 10 and 15 million people lost their investments in Sergei Mavrodi's, matemathician turned fraudster, first MMM pyramid scheme in the early 1990s. The first pyramid lasted around three years and collapsed a year before the 1998 default which shattered the system of short-term government bonds (GKO), and the government stopped paying its internal debt. Mavrodi was sentenced to four and a half years in prison as a result.  After he was released, Sergei Mavrodi announced a new pyramid scheme in early 2011, MMM-2011, asking investors to buy so-called Mavro currency units. Several Russian officials and public figures denounced this venture as another fraudulent scheme.

Ponzi schemes and financial pyramids are technically not illegal under Russian law.