Arms dealer claims $600 mln Cyprus fraud

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A controversial Russian-born Israeli arms dealer Arcadi Gaydamak has implicated Cyprus in an alleged $600 mln fraud case against him.

According to news site Philenews, citing a TV documentary aired recently on Israel’s popular Channel 12, the 70-year-old’s lawyers have reported to Cyprus authorities that a person he trusted deceived him, transferring to a Cypriot bank account the disputed amount of $570 mln.

The person in question allegedly has Cypriot citizenship, but Gaydamak’s lawyers refused to give further details on this.

As Philenews reports, the complaint was filed last week at Nicosia’s Police Headquarters and is reportedly accompanied by evidence and documents.

The alleged crime was planned in Luxembourg and executed through Cyprus, with Gaydamak’s lawyers also filing complaints in Luxembourg and Israel.

Gaydamak is on the run from a three-year prison sentence handed down by French justice regarding an arms-trading and corruption scandal known as the Angolagate.

The Mitterrand–Pasqua affair, also known informally as Angolagate, was an international political scandal over the secret sale and shipment of arms from Central Europe to the government of Angola by France in the 1990s.

Who is Gaydamak?

Arcadi Gaydamak was born on April 8, 1952, in Moscow and is of Jewish descent.

At the age of 20, he moved to Israel, obtaining citizenship while settling permanently in France, from where he started his business activities.

In the late 1980s, he lived between Paris and London, reselling coal, metal, and oil he bought from Russia to the West.

In 1992 he began working in Angola as an adviser to the French Foreign Ministry and the country’s President.

In 2007 he founded a political movement in Israel, which ran in the state municipal elections a year later, with the Russian Israeli businessman running for mayor of Jerusalem.

Gaydamak was also active in sport, sponsoring the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team in 2005, while his son was once a major shareholder in Portsmouth FC.

In 2009, he and a French businessman were convicted of arms trafficking in Angola during the civil war in the African country (1993-98) and violated the Lusaka protocol.

Although he was sentenced to 6 years in prison, his sentence was halved after a second-instance trial.