Russian convicted fraudster Sergei Mavrodi on Thursday offered to save Belarus's ailing economy by launching a new pyramid scheme in the ex-Soviet state.
In a video address to the country's president, Alexander Lukashenko, Mavrodi asks for "carte blanche" to end the rapid devaluation of the national currency and a growing foreign currency deficit.
The collapse of Mavrodi's 1990s MMM pyramid scheme cost millions of Russians their life savings. According to estimates, the scam attracted between two and five million investors, including a number of high-profile celebrities, who lost around $1.5 billion when it collapsed. Mavrodi was released from jail in 2007.
"Authorize the MMM scheme in Belarus...I'll stop inflation and the fall of the [Belarusian] ruble [exchange rate] in one or two months," he said.
"I did the same in 1994, when MMM curbed inflation [in Russia], when the situation was even worse. I have no doubts about my ability to do the same in Belarus," he added.
He also suggested that the Belarusian authorities issued short-term government bonds, similar to Russia's GKOs, introduced in 1993 to finance the budget deficit.
"For example, [bonds] with the yield of 100% a month and zero reliability for investors to buy bonds with high risk and high profit. This policy will allow you to attract investment you couldn't even dream of," he said.
"[Russia] survived for three years on GKO bonds, there were no other sources [of budget income]. It will give you a three-year grace, and a lot can be done in three years," Mavrodi added.
MOSCOW, May 12 (RIA Novosti)