Russia files criminal case against major spammer

Igor Gusev is allegedly behind one of the largest pharmaceutical spam operations in the world

Russia has reportedly launched its first-ever criminal case related to spam against a man accused of running one of the world's most prolific pharmaceutical spam operations, according to local news reports.

The investigation focuses on Igor Gusev, who is general director of the company Despmedia, which is affiliated with, a site that appears to be an affiliate program related to driving traffic to websites selling drugs over the Internet, according RIA Novosti, citing the Kommersant newspaper.

Despmedia has generated US$120 million in revenue since 2007, with Gusev netting $2 million, Kommersant reported.

RIA Novosti wrote that Gusev is believed to be outside of Russia. His Moscow home was raided on Tuesday, according to Reuters, which also cited the Kommersant story.Reuters spoke to Gusev's lawyer, Vadim Kolosov, who said Gusev is innocent.

Spam promoting websites selling drugs is still one of the largest categories of spam messages. Although the response rate is low, it is a viable business due to the sheer volume of messages that are sent, according to a 2008 study by researchers from the University of California.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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