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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fraud Case: City Says It Can't Act

Despite a protest by dozens of investors who say they were swindled by a voucher investment fund, city government officials said Tuesday that they are powerless to help until a criminal investigation is completed.

Igor Zverev, a spokesman for the mayor's office, said the demonstrators outside the city council building on Ulitsa Tverskaya on Monday could expect little at this stage. "The investigation is still going on, and it is impossible to say how long it will last", said Zverev.

Zverev said investigators have still been unable to trace the director of the Technical Progress mutual fund, Sergei Stepanyants, who has disappeared along with his four cofounders.

The group is accused of swindling about 250, 000 mainly elderly people out of their vouchers. The fund, which started operations in May 1992, initially paid small dividends but then closed down its offices abruptly this June.

The investors held a larger demonstration Nov. 15, when about 1, 500 people stopped traffic in front of the Mossoviet building.