Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Will Gaydamak Be Back?
…………. Gaydamak is currently on a trip to Russia. He left NIS 4 million as bail when he left the country. In case he fails to return to Israel, it will be confiscated. (JPost.)
Arkady Gaydamak is usually described as a “Russian/Israeli billionaire”. He has a dramatic rags-to-riches biography – making aliya from Russia aged 20, then working as a sailor for ZIM shipping lines, then moving to France where he worked as a gardener and bricklayer. Gaydamak became a successful businessman in France, but often courted controversy and legal challenges.
Gaydamak is wanted by police in France on charges connected to the illegal exporting of arms to Angola, and tax evasion. In Israel, where Gaydamak has been living since leaving France in around 2004, allegations of misdemeanor have been gathering since 2006.
Gaydamak reached his peak of popularity in Israel during the 2nd Lebanon War when he initiated and funded an emergency evacuee-camp on the beach for Israeli families who left the war-torn North of Israel. (I, together with Lema’an Achai, ran a similar program in Bet Shemesh, regretfully garnering less publicity!).
In 2007 Gaydamak went into Israeli politics establishing “Social Justice” – a new party. In 2008, Gaydamak flopped as a candidate for Jerusalem mayor, attracting just 3% of the vote.
With charges of fraud and money laundering, to the tune of 650M NIS, now issued by police in Israel against Gayadamak and his partners, and leaving a measly 4m NIS as deposit before hopping to Russia, I can see no good reason for Gaydamak to return any time soon to Israel.