Beitar Jerusalem FC owner Arkadi Gaydamak is going to sue US businessmen to whom he wanted to sell the club, according to the reports.
“I didn’t go deep into it. There were buyers who made an offer, as far as I know. They confirmed their intentions, and then disappeared. My lawyer is going to file a lawsuit against them. He knows all the details,” said Gaydamak to IzRus on-line publication.
The reports say that Israel Shelo, Gaydamak’s lawyer, will sue Dan Adler and Adam Levin for $2 million in damages. Adler and Levin signed the deal with Beitar chairman Yitzhak Kornfine. Under the deal, Adler and Levin had to pay $4 million for the club and cover the club’s debt of 0.5 million Israeli shekels ($100,000).
“Actually I personally have not run the club since last year. Club manager Yitzhak Kornfine told me a month ago that he was holding negotiations with US businessmen. Yesterday he informed me of an agreement which they reached. This agreement has been signed,” said Gaydamak on 14 July. But the purchasers turned out to delay payment without any explanations and then literally disappeared.
Gaydamak acquired the soccer team 6 years ago. Having poured about 200 million shekels ($50 million) into it in the first three seasons, he brought home two national championships and two cups of Israel. In the end of 2008 the oligarch lost interest in the club, because of 2008 crisis which hit hard his business empire, or because the club became useless for Gaydamak after he lost the election of the mayor of Jerusalem and left the country for almost 2 years.
Moscow-born Israeli businessman Arkady Gaydamak is contented with the victory in the Paris Court of Appeal over Angola-gate affair. He adds that he is ready to prove his innocence before the court in the case of alleged non-filing tax return in 1994.
On April 29 the Paris Court overturned the 2009 verdict, which convicted Arkady Gaydamak, former French interior minister Charles Pasqua and French businessman Pierre Falcone of illegal traffic of Soviet Arms from France to Angola during the civil war. Having examined the case, the Court ruled to cut down the jail terms. Now Gaydamak does not face 6 years in prison.
Gaydamak says: «I was indicted on 6 counts, including arms trafficking. I have been cleared of all charges». He added that the court turned down «very offemsive» charge of buying the Order of the Legion of Honour which Gaydamak received for helping to set free French pilots in Bosnya.
The court also found Gaydamak guilty of tax evasion and sentenced him to 3 years in prison and 150 thousand euros fine. The businessman is ready to appeal and prove his innocence. Gaydamak says: «Indeed I did not file tax return in that year. But by that time I had already worked in different place and did not even dwell in France».
On January 19, in Paris court about the case of the sale of Soviet weapons to Angola in 1993-2000 will be opened. One of the main accused is a Russian-Israeli businessman Arcadi Gaydamak. According to local media, he requested ex-French President Jacques Chirac to appear for the trial. According to the businessman, while answering his questions Chirac will show that Gaydamak has become a pawn in a political game designed to prevent the election of former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua for the post of head of the state. Businessman claims to be a victim of a "severe legal error" because he had never been a partner of Pierre Falcone, who is accused in the "Angolagate”. Likewise, he stressed that he never was a companion of Pasqua, and did not engage in any arms shipments to Africa. As previously reported by portal IzRus, it is indicated in a 468-page indictment, launched in October 2008, that deals to supply arms to Angola had been carried out illegally in France by the Slovak company ZTZ, owned by Arcadi Gaydamak. The Soviet T-62 tanks, helicopters, warships, mines and ammunition were delivered to Africa. The total amount of contracts concluded in 1993-2000, amounted to 791 million dollars, and, Arkady Gaydamak ostensibly received 185 million of it.
Yesterday the district Court in Tel Aviv began to consider a criminal case on laundering $ 172 million, the action was brought against a well-known Israeli businessman of Russian origin, Arkadi Gaydamak. Mr Gaydamak has been living in Russia in recent years; he made a special trip to the court hearing in Tel Aviv to prove his innocence. Businessman admits that he had performed two financial transactions that were incriminated as a "money laundering", but he does not consider them a crime.
Mr Gaydamak was talkative and joked a lot during an improvised press conference that occurred in front of the District Court immediately after the hearing. He expressed himself in English. According to him, the last eighteen years he lived permanently in Moscow and could not come to Israel because of the health problems. After having had the medical treatment, the businessman immediately flew to Tel Aviv “for a few weeks" to participate in court hearings. The businessman said that he was not afraid of involvement in the process, as he was persuaded of his innocence. “It is not clear what articles of the Criminal Code the indictment of the Prosecutor's Office is based on," he said.
In his turn, lawyer of the defendant, David Levai has categorically denied speculation appearing in the Israeli media that his client was allegedly preparing to conclude a deal with the investigation. "What kind of deal can you talk about if Gaydamak denies all charges against him and does not understand how the investigation materials prove his guilt?”, the defender explained. Mr. Lebanon refused to discover the worked out tactics of defense.
Let us recall that the Israeli prosecutor's office accuses Mr. Gaydamak for money laundering through the branch N 535 in Israeli Bank Hapoalim in Tel Aviv, known as "the Russian branch”. According to investigators, the businessman joined the "conspiracy" with the leaders of Hapoalim, and made two questionable financial transactions. In 2002, he allegedly bought a Dutch company Termopost for $ 50 million for a nominee name; the Company was developing the phosphate deposits in Kazakhstan. The buyer allegedly had grounds to conceal his identity, because at that time he was a suspect in another criminal case, investigated in France, and that could alert vendors. Then, according to prosecutors, Mr. Gaydamak, again illegally, transferred $ 122 million from his personal account abroad, and "forgot" to inform the Central Bank of Israel about it. Opacity of the deals, according to Israeli law, actually equates to money laundering, so the businessman, according to the prosecution, caused damage to the state worth about 650 million shekels ($ 172 million).
As Arkady Gaydamak told Kommersant, he was going to buy Termopost to his name, but given the fact that in 2002 " negative information background was created around his name" "cautious Dutch owners of the company themselves recommended him to effect a deal with a nominee. As a result, the buyer turned out to be a longtime business partner of the businessman - an expert on "phosphate theme", Nahum Galmor. Mr Gaydamak only supported him financially, putting $ 50 million in so-called collateral account. Mr Galmor later became the legal and beneficial owner of Termopost, a guarantee fee was returned to its owner.
Mr Gaydamak has also recognized the transfer of $ 122 million from his personal account at the Israeli Bank Hapoalim to the Russian bank "Trust" claiming it was a forced operation. Shortly before the transfer, the leaders "of the Russian branch" allegedly told him that suspicious persons had taken great interest in his account and advised him to transfer money to another bank at least temporarily. "Every Israeli citizen has the right to dispose of his personal funds at its discretion”, Arkady Gaydamak says. “I am unaware of any laws restricting those rights."
One way or another, in 2004, in respect of the contracting parties a criminal case was prosecuted, and in autumn 2009, it was considered by the District Court of Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, according to Israeli media, even if the case on money laundering falls apart in court, Mr Gaydamak will have to stay in the country for the settlement of other financial matters. The fact is that the court can consider several civil lawsuits filed to the businessman by his Israeli counterparts, to whom he allegedly did not return the debt.
Position: President of the Congress of Jewish Religious Communities and Organizations of Russia, Chairman of the Israeli party "Social Justice"
Born in Moscow. In 1972 immigrated to Israel.
For some time he lived in a kibbutz, then served in the Israeli Navy.
In 1973, upon completion the service he moved to France, where in 1976 he created a translation bureau primarily oriented to the Soviet missions. In 1982 he also established a branch in Canada.
In the 1980's he established relationships with the Angolan Government, and sold it weapons for fighting rebels, despite an international embargo. When the Soviet Union collapse he started investing in various projects at the post-Soviet territory.
In 2000 he was indicted for illegal arms sales to Angola. On this reason he escaped from France to Israel where he bought an apartment in Caesarea. Israel refused to extradite Gaydamak to France.
In Israel he acquired a number of companies and sports teams such as: Jerusalem FC «Beitar», the basketball team «Hapoel Upper Galilee».
In 2005 his name appeared in the reports of the Israeli police investigation of money laundering through the Bank «Hapoalim».
In 2006, Gaydamak bought the newspaper «Moscow News»; its publication had been suspended since January 1, 2008, and the employees of the newspaper were dismissed due to unprofitable publications.
In March 2007 he was formally accused by the General Prosecutor of France of illegal weapons supply to Angola and corruption. He was accused along with some former high-ranking French officials.
He is the owner of Media Holding "United Media» which involves radio stations such as Cinema FM (Moscow), as well as an extremely popular radio project Business FM (Moscow, St. Petersburg) and the Newspaper Business and Financial Markets.
Gaydamak participates in internal politics of Israel; he founded a movement "Social Justice".
According to press reports, he provides financial assistance to the transfer of the St. Sergius monastery building in the center of Jerusalem to the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society.
July 30, 2008 he officially declared his candidacy for mayor of Jerusalem, but lost.
Gaydamak is a collector: he owns a large collection of Empire style. In addition, he is the author of the book "The Russian Empire" (2000). Gaydamak is known as a major sponsor of the Jewish community in Russia. In May 2005 he was elected president of the Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations of the country (KEROOR) .
Gaydamak was awarded the highest order of France- the Order of the Legion of Honor for saving two French pilots from the Bosnian captivity in 1995.
Gaydamak - a citizen of several countries - Angola, Israel, Canada and France. He does not have Russian citizenship. In recent years (since 2002) Gaydamak has been residing in Moscow.
I Gaydamak has a son and two daughters. In 2006, Alexander Gaydamak, the son of the businessman became the sole owner of English football club «Portsmouth».
Gaydamak's name appears in the media in connection with major financial scandals. The first one involved participation of some private companies in the debt repayment of Angola to Russia between 1996 and 2000.
In late 1996, Russia and Angola signed an agreement on debt restructuring under which 70% of the debt was simply dismissed, and the rest part of it (at 1.5 billion dollars) was restructured in bills which were to be repaid over 21 years.
Source: "Le Monde" from 03.04.2002
"Debt restructuring" and the further profit earning by stakeholders was executed as follows: Creditor country sold a bad debt with a large discount to the company specialized in such operations; the company recovered from the country-debtor the full amount or the biggest part of the debt. Managers of the indebted party also got commission. To avoid paying to middlemen, the debtor and the creditor created a fictitious company which supposedly received the debt.
An offshore company Abalone Investment Limited became such a company; in spring of 1997, it was established by Gaydamak, a French businessman Pierre Falcone, and the president of the Bank «Russian credit» Vitaly Malkin. Angolan money should have been credited through that company to the account of the Ministry of Finance in Russian "Unicombank».
As a result, Russia gained only a small portion of the amount expected, the remaining funds "settled" in the "Abalone". In the period between July 1997 and July 2000 only two transfers had been revealed on account of the Ministry of Finance . At the same time Abalone transferred money to five other companies in Israel, Luxembourg and Cyprus. According to Gaydamak, they were supposed to buy the Russian bonds.
Source: "Top Secret" from 08.2002
Gaydamak also became involved in the loud story of French corruption case, known as "Angolagate" on the sale of Russian arms to Angola, due to which France gained access to oil resources of Angola.
Angolan President Edward Dush Santush badly needed weapons to crush the rebels - a union UNITA under the leadership of Jonas Savimbi. Initially, France supported UNITA. But then the United States started supporting the union, and it became clear to the French government that the contracts for the supply of oil could have been acquired by a stronger opponent. Thus, when Dos Santos asked for help in supplying weapons – France found a way out. There was one complication: open help with weapon to African countries was banned by international agreement. Gaydamak came in handy then.
In 1993, the eldest son of French President Mitteran Jean-Christophe (he headed the department of African countries), French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, and a Franco-Brazilian businessman Falcon (ex-business partner of Gaydamak) turned to Gaydamak to organize the sale of arms to Angola.
Gaydamak sold the first batch of Russian arms to Angola through the Slovak company ZTS Osol; perhaps, he used his old channels in KGB on Soviet arms supplies through Czechoslovakia. Angola had been delivered weapons at 630 million U.S. dollars within two years . Almost all the participants of the operation received a considerable profit. Angola received weapons and France - the oil contracts and the most spectacular corruption scandal in its history.
in 1996 Gaydamak was awarded one of the highest awards of France - the Order of Merit for a successfully implemented deal; while for a decoration he was granted on a special list of President Chirac for success in the meat trade with Russia.
Source: "Stringer" on 11/04/2001
In December 2000 the French justice began investigating the case on supplies of weapons to Angola; Gaydamak left the country and settled in Israel. He was put on the wanted list by Interpol as one of the defendants in the case, but they failed to arrest him.
In early October 2009, the Israeli prosecution filed charges against Gaydamak in absentia of laundering 650 million shekels. At that time Gaydamak was in Russia.
It all started from the year 2005 - then 22 employees suspected of money laundering operations were arrested in the Tel Aviv branch of the Israeli bank «Hapoliam». Among the clients of the bank Gaydamak was listed. The bank employees had been receiving large sums of money of dubious origin from the clients abroad . The same money when laundered through a legitimate bank account was transferred to another country, mostly - in the «Hapoalim» branches in Western Europe.
Source: "Gazeta" on 08.03.2005
Along with prosecution of money laundering the French court found Gaydamak guilty of illegal arms shipments to Angola. He and Falcone were sentenced to six years of imprisonment. Jean-Christophe Mitterrand was sentenced for 2 years of probation and fined. Gaydamak appealed the court's decision.
Gaydamak was in Moscow when the charge had been filed. He was scheduled to go on trial on February 18, 2010 in Tel Aviv. The trial was supposed to be held earlier, but the businessman asked for a postponement pointing out that the doctors had forbidden any flights to him.
Source: izrus.co.il on 05.01.2010 09:23
Even before the designated trial the Israeli prosecutor demanded to arrest Gaydamak referring to the fact that he had not made a part of the bale.
Source: izrus.co.il on 05.02.2010 09:19
However, on 18 February the court did not yet begin, as the procuracy replaced the prosecutor. The chief prosecutor in the case of money laundering Tali Nazhari was removed from his post. He was replaced by another lawyer.
Source: izrus.co.il on 18.02.2010 19:52
On February 28, 2010 Gaydamak appealed against the court decision not to cancel the bail of $ 3 million as a guarantee of his arrival at the court session . The deposit was several times more than the highest amount ever made in such cases in Israel. The businessman has not yet provided any evidence of his financial insolvency.