Flat Earth: Money or your life

Click to follow
The Independent Online
IT IS a shame they are not building prisons like that in Russia, where the national pastime is cheating the state. But only a fool would trifle with private creditors. In Moscow before this winter's snows, a gang of loan sharks sat in a limousine and watched a man, who had been unable to pay them, step off a bridge and hang himself from the trolley bus wires above Leningradsky Prospekt.

An equally shocking response greeted our correspondent's friend, a young Russian businessman, earlier this month. He owed dollars 5,000. When he asked for time, he was told: 'Take down this phone number. It is a clinic that trades in body parts. One of your eyes will fetch dollars 5,000.' The businessman sold his flat instead.