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MMM Co-founder Vyacheslav Mavrodi sentenced

A Moscow court on 13 February sentenced Vyacheslav Mavrodi, younger brother of MMM investment firm founder Sergei Mavrodi, to five years and three months in prison for his conviction on charges of conducting illegal banking and precious-commodities operations, regions.ru and other Russian news agencies reported.

After the collapse of MMM, which Vyacheslav Mavrodi founded with his brother, he formed two other pyramid-type investment companies called MMM-96 and MMM-97.

The court ruled that by accepting "deposits" from investors, Mavrodi violated Russian banking laws and that the companies acquired gold from the Central Bank without having the necessary license. Mavrodi's lawyers said they will appeal the conviction.

Sergei Mavrodi was arrested in Moscow on 31 January after almost five years on the run and now faces fraud charges stemming from MMM's activities.

(RFE/RL 14.ii.03)

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