31-year old Russian Igor Gusev is being investigated by the Russian police because they believe him to be the central figure behind the well-known spamming affiliate program SpamIt.com, which ceased to operate some three weeks ago. Since then, the volume of pharmaceutical and other types of spam has dropped by 20 percent.
Two weeks prior to the shut down, SpamIt own operators announced their intention and explained that there has been too much public attention for the program. It seems now that they were not worried about public attention, but about the attention the outfit was receiving from law enforcement.
The investigation began on September 21 – six days before the shutdown. In the meantime, it seems that Gusev has managed to flee the country. The New York Times reports that he will likely be accused of operating a pharmacy without a license and of failing to register a business.
The police raided Gusev’s apartment and collected hard drives and laptops, in the hope of uncovering evidence that will allow them to raise specific charges. His lawyer claims that Gusev is innocent of all spam-related charges.
If this thing goes to trial, it will be a first one of its kind for Russia. So far, the country has been a sort of a safe haven for cyber criminals, but it seems that a new wind is blowing and that President Medvedev is looking to improve the country image.