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Russian Spammer's Murder Not Internet-Related

The Moscow man's bludgeoning was the result of a robbery.
The violent death of a notorious Moscow-based spammer that sparked speculative theories he was murdered by someone tired of spam was just the result of a botched robbery, a Moscow newspaper reported Tuesday.

The killing of Vardan Kushnir, 35, was a robbery gone bad and not connected with Kushnir's Internet activity, investigators told the paper.

Kushnir had been found beaten to death in his Moscow apartment on Sunday. Almost immediately, observers speculated that Kushnir was killed by a disgruntled Internet user.

The director of a Moscow English-language center and one of the biggest spammers in Russia, Kushnir previously had been the target of death threats, his company's Web site repeatedly hit by denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, and his American Language Center's phone system often overloaded with automated calls, all in reaction to his commercial spam operation.

Russian-language media reports of his death were filled with vitriol, and little sympathy. "The Spammer Had It Coming," one headline read. "An Ultimate Solution To The Spam Problem" read another.

Moscow police, however, see no connection to the American Language Center's spamming.

According to the Kommersant, a Moscow newspaper, police said Kushnir met three women in a club, and invited them to his apartment. The women then spiked his drink, but when Kushnir woke up to find the women's accomplices taking credit cards, a laptop, money, and other items, he was bludgeoned to death, the paper said.