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    Deceived housing investors turn to British authorities for help

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    A group of housing investors who lost their money in residential blocks that were never built has asked British authorities for help, a spokesman for Britain's embassy in Moscow said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, January 3 (RIA Novosti) - A group of housing investors who lost their money in residential blocks that were never built has asked British authorities for help, a spokesman for Britain's embassy in Moscow said Wednesday.

    More than 40 defrauded co-investors of a real estate investment firm, the Social Initiative, gathered January 3 near the British embassy to transfer a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair with a request to help return their money, popular radio station Ekho Moskvy said.

    The Social Initiative lured tens of thousands of Russian citizens with a promise to build new and affordable housing.

    According to co-investors, funds on the accounts of the former heads of the Social Initiative are being transferred to British banks. The co-investors are requesting the British government to check and freeze such accounts because this money belongs to Russians who have never received their apartments.

    The British embassy has received the letter and transferred it to the competent bodies in London for examination, the spokesman said.

    In November, a Moscow court placed the heads of the Social Initiative in custody on suspicion of gross theft of co-investors' money.

    According to a preliminary investigation, 6,000 co-investors of the Social Initiative have invested money in 170 real estate projects. More than 5,600 of them have already filed lawsuits worth over 600 million rubles ($22.7 million).

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