MOSCOW, February 11 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Finance Ministry has updated and submitted to the government a bill introducing criminal liability for organizing and advertising pyramid schemes, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.

The original bill was published on the government’s site of planned legislation in September. In late November, the ministry posted an updated version of the bill on its website. The final version of the document has not changed the essence of the ministry’s proposals.

If the bill is adopted, pyramid scheme organizers could be fined up to 1.5 million rubles ($22,920), or sentenced to up to five years of compulsory labor, or to six years of imprisonment or two years of custodial restraint.

Individuals who create or attract funds to pyramid schemes would be fined between 5,000 and 50,000 rubles ($76.40-$764), officials 20,000 to 100,000 rubles ($305.60-$1,528) and legal entities 500,000 to 1 million rubles ($7,640-$15,280).

Similar fines would be introduced for advertising pyramid schemes.

The updated bill has amended the article on administrative fines. Under it, pyramid scheme advertising is defined as “the use of any means available to promote information on the attractiveness of creating pyramid schemes and attracting funds to them and/or encouragement of these activities.”

In June 2013, the Finance Ministry, seeking to introduce liability for organizing pyramid schemes, submitted a bill to amend legislation, which the government rejected. It proposed punishing not only pyramid organizers but also those participants who invest over 1.5 million rubles.