Sergei Mavrodi, the notorious mastermind of the 1990’s MMM pyramid scheme, on Wednesday disappeared from a Moscow hospital where he was taken from custody two days ago. So did an expensive medical device.
Mavrodi was taken to hospital from a detention facility where he served his five-day administrative arrest after refusing to pay a 1,000 ruble ($33) fine for an unspecified administrative offense.
“Officers of the local police department are currently in the Botkinskaya Hospital, questioning the management. If they formally complain about an expensive medical device missing, then their complaint will be probed,” a spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry’s Moscow department said.
According to Russian media reports, the device that went missing is a Holter monitor, a portable device used for monitoring heart activity and blood pressure.
The hospital staff were not immediately available for a comment.
Mavrodi’s lawyer told the RAPSI news agency that his client is likely to appear at Thursday’s court hearings of one of the ten administrative cases launched against him.
“I learned from the media that he fled,” Alexander Molokhov said. “He is a free man and he is not under arrest. He will continue his treatment according to doctor’s recommendations and will appear in court if he feels better.”
The collapse of Mavrodi’s 1990s MMM pyramid scheme cost millions of Russians their life savings. The scam attracted between two and five million investors who lost around $1.5 billion when it collapsed. He served a four-and-a-half-year sentence and was released in May 2007.
In 2011, Mavrodi unveiled a new scheme, which uses the online payment system, WebMoney, to allow investors to buy tickets that work like shares, but have no real value. He promised investors returns of 20-30 percent per month.