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Moscow Police Hunt Suspected Spammer

Investigators have opened a criminal case against a Moscow businessman accused of involvement in a major spamming operation flooding the Internet with advertisements for the anti-impotence drug Viagra, Kommersant and The New York Times  reported Wednesday.

The charges are 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 on Tuesday raided the home of Igor Gusev, 31, who is accused of illegally operating a spam network that helped earn his partner company $120 million, Kommersant said.

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 said by telephone.

He said Gusev was currently out of the country and unavailable for comment.

Gusev is the general director of Despmedia, a partner of Glavmed.com, which investigators said had earned $120 million over the 3 1/2 years from medicine sales over the Internet.

Kommersant said 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.

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