RUSSIAN businessman and founder of the MMM Pyramid scheme, Sergei Mavrodi, is dead.
According to Russian media, Mavrodi, whose MMM pyramid scheme deprived millions of Russians their savings in the 1990s, died of a heart attack.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports yesterday that the 62-year-old was rushed to the hospital late on March 25 with pain in his chest and died several hours later.
Mavrodi’s MMM financial pyramid was a typical Ponzi scheme in which earlier investors receive their profits from subsequent investors. It also promised returns of 20 per cent to 75 per cent a month, as well as lotteries and bonuses for investors.
As soon as the number of new clients stopped growing, the pyramid collapsed, causing huge financial losses for at least 10 million people, in some cases leaving them destitute.
In 1994, Mavrodi was elected as a lawmaker, a decision he later said was to ensure he received immunity from prosecution although he later lost his parliamentary mandate.
A Moscow court found him guilty of financial fraud in 2007 and sentenced him to 4 1/2 years in a penal colony.
Mavrodi launched another pyramid scheme called MMM-2011, calling on investors to purchase so-called Mavro currency units in a bid to get rid of the “unfair” financial system. The project was, however, halted after a few months.
Between 2011 and 2016, he launched Ponzi schemes under the MMM brand in India, China, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria.
The operations were subsequently shut down in many countries, including Nigeria.