a different side of Israel

Arkadi Gaydamak – Billionaire, Sports Fan, Newspaper Owner, Arms Dealer, did I miss anything..

Arkady Gaidamak in Israeli News
I can’t keep up. Too much happening too fast. Arkady Gaydamak (53) is all over the place. I planned to write this piece on this phenomena called Arkady (Arcadi or Arkadi) Gaydamak (an Oligarch) and as I am writing these words there are 2 new news bits that involve the Gaydamak family. This is like trying to nail Jello to the wall, and as you will see, apparently some law enforcement agencies seem to think the same thing.

Let’s start with the old news. Gaydamak moved into Israel and did some local shopping. He bought Jerusalem’s Beitar Jerusalem, a rather controversial soccer team. He then also bought a basketball team and donated $400,000 to a third team just to keep things fair.

But the shopping spree started earlier with this little acquisition reported in Russia:

“That changed this week when Gaydamak acquired the Moskovskiye Novosti, a leading Russian liberal publication from the time of perestroika. The St. Petersburg Times reported that “Arkady Gaydamak, a Moscow-born businessman with four passports and a controversial past, confirms that he had bought the weekly newspaper.”

“Gaydamak seems still to be close to the Angolan government and he is definitely involved in Angola’s Sunland Mining, a company in which Alrosa is believed to be the largest shareholder. As is well known, Sunland is one of the official buyers of rough diamonds from Angolan state company Sodiam. Gaydamak once was in partnership with Lev Leviev. Though they publicly talk nicely about each other, there is no doubt that there has been a fall-out between these ex-partners.”

Forbes had an interesting article about Gaydamak, shedding a little more light about the Angola (alleged Angola) connection and the connection to Lev Leviev, owner of Africa Israel, the largest real estate behemoth in Israel, and someone who had gone on several shopping sprees himself a few years back:

“A friend of his (Lev Leviev’s), Arcadi Gaydamak, an alleged arms dealer with Israeli and Russian citizenship, was an adviser to Dos Santos. According to the Center for Public Integrity, in the mid 1990s Gaydamak (wanted in France for illegal arms trafficking) negotiated a forgiveness of Angolan debt to Russia, in exchange for arms. In January 2000, a month after Leviev’s Ascorp was awarded the exclusive on Angola’s diamonds, Gaydamak bought 15% of Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments. Within a year Leviev bought back Gaydamak’s stake. A quid pro quo? “He offered to sell me the shares at a good price,” says Leviev. “This was a time before Mr. Gaydamak had legal problems.” While the two are no longer business associates, they remain chums.”

Rumors have it that Lev and Gaydamak are not palls (or chums) any longer. As a matter of fact today Lev Leviev bought Hapoel Tel Aviv, a soccer team rivaling some say Arkady Gaydamak’s Beitar Jerusalem. It’s sort of like the old game of Monopoly, only with real people, companies and money. Sort of cute.

What brought Arkadi Gaydamak into the spotlight was his March 2005 arrest and police investigation of over $230 Million in suspected laundered money that was moving around in a Tel Aviv branch of Bank Hapoalim. Three businessmen were involved including Arkady. The nice thing about this was that all 22 employees and a group of 45 customers of branch 535 of Bank Hapoalim seem to be cooperating with…Gaydamak.
As the police closed in Gaydamak transferred a bulk of the money, investigators suspect that he was tipped off by bank staff. The Police are still trying to figure out what happened there and after posting a $1 million bail requirement (chump change) Arkadi was out.

Ynet reported about the money laundering investigation:

“Police investigators questioned Russian millionaire Arkadi Gaydamak Monday in the framework of a money laundering investigation involving a Tel Aviv branch of Bank Hapoalim.”
“According to suspicions, hundreds of millions of dollars were laundered at the branch. The investigation revealed that the money was transferred to the bank from overseas, laundered and then transferred back abroad.
Dozens of businessmen and 22 of the bank’s employees were questioned in the months after the scandal broke on suspicion they were involved in the scheme.”

There is no ignoring the fact that there is some sort of Angloa connection going on and this is from a 2001 Article in Africa Confidential:

“Speculation about the departure of General João de Matos, Chief of General Staff of the Forças Armadas Angolanas, suggests he may be Luanda’s first casualty from the ‘Angolagate’ sanctions-busting scandal which threatens the highest reaches of France’s political establishment. De Matos’ tactical acumen is credited with the FAA’s striking military turnaround in 1994. Arrest warrants have been issued in France for two foreign nationals who were granted Angolan citizenship – Pierre Falcone (detained) and Arkadi Gaydamak – and who were the principals in a US$130 million arms deal in 1993. Official Angolan sources told Africa Confidential that De Matos remains in his post ‘but we cannot be certain about the future’.”

Sky News just reported that Alexandre Gaydamak (31), son of billionaire Arkadi Gaydamak, just bought a stake in Portsmouth, a soccer club in the UK. Arkadi Gaydamak was mentioned and according to Sky News was rumored to have a French arrest warrant against him for an Angolan arms for oil deal.

From the BBC article on the Portsmouth deal:

“Despite owning Beitar, Alexandre’s father Arcadi has lived in Moscow since 2002. The Beitar owner is involved in various industrial enterprises in Russia and owns a medium-sized bank and brokerage company.
In 2002 Paris magistrates issued an arrest warrant for him for questioning over an alleged arms-for-oil deal with Angola in the early 1990s. Arcadi Gaydamak insisted his involvement in the deal was as part of a legitimate agreement between the governments of Russia and Angola.
Jean-Christophe Mitterand, the son of former French president Francois Mitterand, was given a 30-month suspended sentence for his involvement in the affair.”

In the Tel Aviv Harbour entertainment area Gaydamak held a New Year Eve party and invited 1,400 guests to celebrate the beginning of 2006. The event was covered in the news and the 1,200 attendees included known personalities in entertainment, politics, sports (the entire Beitar team of course), business and other celebes. There was lots of good food prepared by 18 chefs and The Temptations dropped in for a performance. Getting an invite was a big deal and although most politicians stayed away (some say by orders from above) the party was a success. I had a previous engagement and could not attend..

The press had a heyday and the next day Arkadi was on Channel 1 for an interview. He was asked about his intentions in Israel and his recent acquisitions (did I mention he was going to launch a new political party?). Mostly he explained that his intentions and motives are purely to advance Israel and make it a better place. He believes the country can be the next Monaco…
When asked about his past and the rumors about the source of his funds he didn’t really answer, come to think about it he basically ignored the question. He was interviewed in English and the interviewer attempted to translate (did a horrible job) but what was interesting was that he understood the translation to Hebrew and kept correcting the anchor when she made a mistake or misrepresented his answers. He definitely had a lot to say and the interviewers had a rough time keeping the show on track. An interesting guy..

I think Arkadi Gaydamak will blend in well in Israeli life and I just want to say that for the right price THIS BLOG IS FOR SALE !!!!!


  1. You guys really should be getting more comments. This blog is too fab for words. Keep writing, please!

  2. מר גאידאמק שלום רב,
    ברשותך היינו מעונינים לסבר אוזנך ולבך לפעילותינו למען הקהילה
    אנו מתנדבים במסגרת העמותה לטיפול ושיקום נפגעי סמים ואלכוהול, אוכלוסיה בעייתית
    שלכאורה מצויירת כאבן ריכיים על צבר החברה ,
    אנו ערים לעויינות כלפיך מיזדהים איתך ומחזקים אותך ואת מעשך הרבית לתובת הקהילה בארץ,
    בשמי ובשם כל המכורים הנקיים ומשפחותיהם
    יעקב אילוז יו”ר העמותה

  3. Dear Mr. Gaidamak! Please, send your E-mail. I would like to tell about our project with teens in Kiryat-Shmona.
    Dr.Maria Mor

  4. Dear Arkadi Gaydamak,
    Sir, please remember me when you expand your business in Hawaii or any State in the US, or in the Philippines. I am a naturalized american citizen, 56 years old. My skills are project management, organizational strategist, and team builder. Presently, I am working as quality control manager with NAN INC, a local contractor here in Honolulu. Please remember me, Sir Arkadi. Thank you very much and Shalom.

    Fidel Eviota II
    1227 Alexander St., Apt 1A
    Honolulu, HI 96826

    (808)222-5016 mobile
    (808)953-2419 home

  5. EB

    May 17, 2007 at 6:46 am

    I love it – we have resumes here 🙂

  6. Алина

    May 30, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Здравствуйте, уважаемый Аркадий!

    Меня зовут Алина, пишу я Вам из России (г.Тверь). Вы конечно можете оставить мое письмо без внимания, но я очень бы хотела, чтобы Вы ответили или хотя бы прочли. Вы уважаемый человек, о Вас много говорят и пишут. Я пишу Вам и обращаюсь за помощью.
    У меня растет замечательная дочка – Аленка. Её сейчас 15 лет, она очень общительна, развита по возрасту и доброй души человечек. Но круг её общения – книги, компьютер, телевизор и семья. Со сверстниками она общается очень мало в силу своего здоровья, а точнее отсутвия его. Родилась она после аварии на ЧАЭС. Мой муж – папа Аленки, ликвидировал последствия аварии на ЧАЭС в 1986 году. Девочка родилась с пороками развития сердца и легкого, ей трудно ходить, а бегает она только во сне, очень часто болеет. В 5 лет Аленка перенесла операцию на сердце, но по истечению времени её состояние не улучшилось, сохранилась одышка, сильно повысилось легочное давление, в легких стала скапливаться жидкость. Девочка она уже большая, не глупая и все осознает.
    С 3-х месячного возраста, обследуемся и лечимся в разных мед. учреждениях, городов Москвы и Санкт-Петербурга. Врачи пытаются облегчить боль и страдания, но увы, они у нас в России бессильны.
    15 лет – возраст веселого жизнерадостного беззаботного подростка. Что перенесла за эти годы моя девочка – лучше не вспоминать: больницы, боли, унижения. Но я – мать и я хочу любыми путями помочь моему ребенку. Хочу, чтобы она улыбалась, радовалась жизни, ходила и бегала.
    В марте 2006 года в институте кардиохирургии г. Москвы нам поставили окончательный диагноз, при котором ребенку поможет только трансплантация правого легкого. У нас в стране такие операции запрещены законом, но есть страны ближнего зарубежья, где нам могут помочь (Германия и др. страны ЕС). Т.к. наша страна не входить в состав Евросоюза, операции такого плана достаточно дорогостоящие. Речь идет о больших деньгах, без которых нам никто, никогда и нигде не поможет. Для операции первоначально требуется 300 000 €. У нас мало времени, Аленка на постоянном медикаментозном лечении.
    Уважаемый Аркадий, не зависимо от того, сможете Вы нам помочь или нет, ответьте нам, пожалуйста. Мы будем надеется и ждать.
    Извините, если где-то обидела Вас, Вы всего добились своим трудом, а я всего лишь прошу.

    С глубоким уважением,
    Лысая Алина Александровна (мама)
    Лысый Юрий Прокофьевич (отец)
    Лысая Алена Юрьевна
    Контактные данные:
    ICQ: 932-926

    Мы можем Вам выслать следующие документы, нужен только адрес:
    1. Выписка из международного медицинского союза ”От сердца к сердцу” кардиологического отделения г. Санкт-Петербурга (23.12.2005).
    2. Выписка РНЦХ РАМН г. Москвы (24.03.2006).
    3. Справка клинического диагноза (24.03.2006).
    4. Компьютерная томография (12.12.2005).
    5. Фото девочки.
    Данные документы полностью подтверждают всю изложенную информацию.

  7. We need Gaidamak’s e mail. We have a project to support Russian newcomers to israel and we would like to talk to Mr Gaidamak and ask him for help/investment in this project. Can anybody connect us with him? On behalf of the Bhakti project group, David.

  8. who doesn’t…

  9. 7% of the people support Olmert et al.
    Arkady Gaydamak represents the 93% of the people who question the folly of disarming the Israeli people and giving away land for nothing and certainly not peace.
    Arkady Gaydamak rightfully questions Israeli politicians seeking Nobel prizes on the backs of murdered citizens and dead Israli soldiers. The only reason the state is investigating Gaydamak is in an effort to stop his growing political strength. This government is not beyond fabricating evidence against Arkady Gaydamak. Remeber this is the same government that is slowly confiscating personal firearms while ensuring the PA police are recieving more arms and ammunition. In fact the PA are receing more arms and ammunition that Israels own response teams.

  10. 8.04.09
    Cher Monsieur,
    Bien le bonjour.
    Je me trouve a Moscou et attends votre appel local 8-903 739 1650.
    sol goldschmidt

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