I canâ€™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.
Letâ€™s start with the old news. Gaydamak moved into Israel and did some local shopping. He bought Jerusalemâ€™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:
â€œThat 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 â€œArkady Gaydamak, a Moscow-born businessman with four passports and a controversial past, confirms that he had bought the weekly newspaper.â€
â€œGaydamak seems still to be close to the Angolan government and he is definitely involved in Angolaâ€™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.â€
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:
â€œA friend of his (Lev Levievâ€™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.â€