Russia launches rare case against accused spammer

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has opened a criminal case against a man accused of involvement in a major spamming operation flooding the Internet with advertisements for the anti-impotence drug Viagra, a top Russian daily reported on Wednesday.

The paper said the charges were unprecedented in Russia, a major center for spammers, which is under pressure from Western partners to clamp down on abuse of the Internet.

Moscow police Tuesday raided the home of Igor Gusev who is accused of illegally operating a spam network that helped earn his partner company $120 million, the Kommersant daily reported, citing investigator Yevdokia Utenkova.

Gusev’s lawyer, Vadim Kolosov, confirmed a criminal case had been opened against his client, but said he was innocent.

“He has no relation to these activities,” Kolosov told Reuters by telephone. He said Gusev was currently out of the country and unavailable for comment.

Kommersant said Gusev is the general director of Despmedia, a partner of, which investigators said had earned $120 million over the past three and a half years from medicine sales over the Internet.

Kommersant says Gusev is accused of using Glavmed to operate a business without registration.

A police spokeswoman representing the capital’s central administrative district confirmed that a case had been opened against a major spammer, but declined to give any details.

Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Ralph Boulton