Russian businessman charged with fake drug spamming

Spam spam spamIn Russia, police have filed a criminal case against Moscow businessman Igor Gusev, accusing him of involvement in activities related to the sending of spam emails peddling counterfeit medicines to millions of people around the world.

News agency reports indicate that Gusev and his company Despmedia have been charged with sending spam and supplying illegal medicines via online affiliate programme called, said to be the world’s largest affiliate program for promoting online pharmacies.

Gusev has gone into hiding, but not before pleading his own innocence and pointing the finger at former business compatriot Pavel Vrublevsky, who runs Internet payment service provider Chronopay.

The charges are said to be the first of their kind in Russia, which has become the source of origin for many spam emails selling pharmaceuticals since the authorities in China ordered a crackdown on that activity within its borders.

As of November 1, Russia was ranked number three in the world for live spam issues by the Spamhaus Blocklist database, after the USA and China.

Police raided Gusev's house last week, according to Russian daily newspaper Kommersant, and uncovered an undisclosed quantity of counterfeit medicines said to originate from India.

It is understood that the investigation is focusing on tax evasion, running a business without the correct registration and's role in providing medicines illegally - presumably because it will be easier to secure a conviction for these offenses. is said to operate by signing up (by invitation only) other spamming groups to help distribute spam mails advertising medicines, with orders filled via agreements with shadowy manufacturers in countries like China and India. The company made $120m over a three-and-a-half-year period from its activities, according to the RIA Novosti news service.

Gusev is also suspected of involvement in the now-defunct SpamIt network, which shut down in September with the result that the number of spam emails fell - temporarily - by an estimated 50 billion per day.

Related articles:

Spammer fined $15.5m for peddling illegal medicines

Sophos white paper details counterfeit drug networks

Drug ads make up three quarters of all spam

Security expert says Internet pharmacy makes $150m from spam


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