The largest financial pyramid on the territory of the former Soviet Union is considered the one organized by Sergey Panteleyevich Mavrodi. It was created in 1989 and is known as MMM. The pyramid of Mavrodi numbered from 10 to 15 million of depositors.
Mavrodi was born on the 11th of August, 1955, in Moscow. His father, Panteley Andreyevich Mavrodi, was half Ukrainian, half Greek and worked as a simple fitter. His mother, Valentina Fyodorovna, originated from Vladimir region, worked as an economist.
Sergey Mavrodi was born with a bilateral heart disease, and the doctors forecast that he would live maximum to the age of eighteen. Despite it, Mavrodi was a very restless child in childhood, possessed phenomenal memory, studied well and got victories in all school competitions. But after 12 concussions of the brain Sergey’s phenomenal memory disappeared. Apart from phenomenal abilities and thirst for exact subjects, Mavrodi was also fond of drawing in childhood. He graduated from the Children's artistic school.
After graduating from the secondary school in 1972 Sergey Mavrodi entered the Moscow Institute of Electronic Engineering. He was fond of Sambo in the institute, participated in tournaments and lost none. But then he unexpectedly gave up this activity, as he explained later, because of becoming stronger physically you become weaker spiritually. After the numerous trainings and tournaments a sportsman already knows his capabilities well enough and simply retreats seeing a stronger opponent before him. The same happens in life: it’s better not to know your capabilities, otherwise you’ll drive yourself into limits and won’t be able to squeeze the impossible.
Except for sport, Mavrodi was fond of preference in the institute, and together with his friends he organized a group of preference players who played for serious money. Studying in the institute Sergey started carrying on business or, as it was called at that time, was a black-marketeer: traded with foreign jeans. In the course of time, he was less interested in the institute, he often shirked school and passed exams only due to his memory. Mavrodi could obtain a summary by request just in a few hours before the exam, review it and get a good grade.
After graduating from the institute he went on doing his business. The future millionaire traded with video cassettes on the market in the beginning of the 80s. And in 1983 Sergey Mavrodi was for the first time arrested by the members of the Department in Fighting Against Thefts of Socialistic Property for illegal engagement in entrepreneurial activity. But he happened to stay in jail not long, in ten days a decree was issued, and this crime was no longer estimated as criminal. After this case Mavrodi decided that he came into this world for something grandiose.
In 1989 Sergey Mavrodi organized the cooperative store «MMM» and opened a dozen of different companies on its basis among which there was a well-known financial pyramid MMM.
In 1993 Sergey married a Ukrainian woman Yelena Pavlyuchenko. She was an owner of numerous titles and a winner of different beauty contests, including «Miss of MMM»-94. They got acquainted at one of the competitions of the program «Phosphor», where Yelena participated, while Sergey was one of the jurymen. But Mavrodi didn’t live in the apartment together with her because he couldn’t imagine how one could live with a woman under one roof.
On the 1st of February, 1994, the safety stock of the joint-stock company MMM came into the market. During 6 months of the pyramid’s activity MMM numbered about 15 million of depositors and accumulated one third of the country’s budget. The cost of safety stock increased in 127 times. Sergey Panteleyevich came forward as a sponsor and patron of many events, including beauty contests. According to Mavrodi, he could come up to any contest participant he liked and offer her sex for a financial reward. And again, according to his words, he received no refusal. The business functioned in the best way possible. There were times when calling on the directory of exact time, you would hear a woman’s voice in a receiver which reported the price of safety stock of MMM at first and only then told the hours and minutes. But for all that, Mavrodi had tense relationships with the government.
On the 4th of August, 1994, Mavrodi was arrested for the concealment of taxes on one of his companies. Being in jail, he held up the work of MMM and started collecting signatures in order to get registered as a deputy candidate. At the beginning of October of the same year Mavrodi was released from prison, and on the 30th of October he became a deputy of State Duma. He never kept back that he needed a deputy badge only for getting the parliamentary immunity. But the phenomenal pyramid builder did not stop on it, he started collecting signatures about the mistrust for the government for what he paid in 1995 when he was deprived of deputy plenary powers. He was a candidate once again after it, at first a deputy candidate, then a presidential candidate, but both times were unsuccessful. And in 1997 MMM was acknowledged a bankrupt, and Mavrodi was in search. In addition to all previous indictments, another one was added – a swindle. All money of MMM, with the initiative of the government of the Russian Federation, was loaded into a huge truck and taken in the unknown direction. Nothing is still known about its fate.
Sergey Mavrodi was searched by MVD and Interpol, in Scandinavia and in Rublyovka, and all these 6 years he lived in a rented apartment in Moscow, and during this time he managed to organize another pyramid that was called Stock Generation (SG). It functioned in the internet, under the guise of the site of gambling games. After a while, this idea failed as well, as a result about 275 thousand of people suffered: mainly habitants of Western Europe and the USA. As Mavrodi explained later, it happened because Western Union didn’t manage to transfer money of all people willing to take part in the business. It’s necessary to add that Sergey was helped by his wife Helen’s sister Oksana in this internet-fraud. As we can see, Mavrodi gathered those people around himself who possessed the spirit of adventurism. During the hiding time in a rented apartment Mavrodi got problems with health. After the checkup the doctors brought in a distressing verdict – CANCER. Sergey Panteleyevich didn’t agree to have chemotherapy and an operation, and after a while a miracle happened - he healed himself. After this case, Mavrodi began to believe in his uniqueness even more.
In 2003 Sergey Mavrodi was arrested and delivered into jail. At the moment of arrest he had a forged passport with him that was written out to Yury Zaytsev, a habitant of Saint Petersburg. he court examination on business of Mavrodi lasted from 2003 to 2007. And when the court finally passed sentence and condemned him to four and a half years of imprisonment, it turned out that he had already served almost all term in jail.
Being in jail, Sergey Panteleyevich didn’t hope for getting a fast freedom and in 2005 he handed in a divorce application with his wife Yelena Pavlyuchenko. According to him, he didn’t wish to hold a woman near him, to oblige her with meetings and gave her total freedom. Being imprisoned, Mavrodi didn’t lose time and was engaged in creative work: he wrote poems, songs, plays and film scripts, he also wrote a philosophical novel “Son of Lucifer”. After getting freedom he published a book “Temptation”. Except for it, in 2011 a film “PiraMMMida” was made on the basis of his work. It was produced by El'dar Salavatov with Alexey Serebryakov in the leading role. All names in the film are changed, but nevertheless, it positions itself as a film made on the basis of the real events.
But don’t think that after serving a term Mavrodi dedicated himself to creative work and forgot about the business, not at all. On the 10th of January, 2011, he opened a new company MMM-2011 in the internet. Sergey Mavrodi doesn’t keep back that it’s a pyramid, but he says that he participates in it completely unselfishly and doesn’t have any profit. All finances of the new MMM are allotted to depositors, and it’s not surprising: if Mavrodi gets some finances they will be spent on repayment of a significant financial obligation. Nobody knows how long the new pyramid will last, but it is known that the previous failure wasn’t a lesson for people, and there’s still a great number of the willing persons to deposit their money. There’re about 10 million of depositors in beginning of 2012 from Russia, Ukraine and other countries. Emergence of MMM-2011 on the financial market caused great agiotage and discussion in Mass Media.
And in conclusion, it would be necessary to note that the biography of Sergey Mavrodi is somewhat similar to the one of the character from the film «Forrest Gamp». And those spectators who have seen this film, I think, will agree with me. Forrest Gamp is the same: a bit crazy, somewhat eccentric and at the same time possessing phenomenal abilities. The black stripes of his life abruptly intersect with the white ones. Presenting nothing special he led masses after himself and could even become the president of a huge country. But Mavrodi’s story has not finished yet and who knows what will be further…
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