Betar sponsor in psychiatric hospital

Guma Aguiar claims he visited Schalit in Gaza; family admits tycoon for evaluation and treatment.

January 17, 2010 20:06
2 minute read.

Betar Jerusalem sponsor Guma Aguiar was forcibly admitted to the Abarbanel Psychiatric Hospital overnight Wednesday following a court order.

Aguiar apparently come out with a series of seemingly bizarre remarks, including a claim to having met Gilad Schalit in Gaza.

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Israel Radio reported that the Brazilian-American energy tycoon had only arrived for the last 20 minutes of Saturday's soccer match at Teddy Stadium between Betar and Bnei Sakhnin, saying his late arrival was due to him having visited the captured IDF soldier.

Associates of the 32-year-old were quoted by the radio station as saying that they felt he was behaving in a particularly strange manner over the last couple of weeks.

Referring to the "meeting" with the captured solider in an interview with Jerusalem weekly Kol Ha'ir Aguiar reportedly said that "I told Schalit I hope to see him home already in the next few days. He said he wanted me to tell his family how much he loves them and Israel, and that he hopes it will all be over soon. I have saved thousands of people, not only Gilad Schalit, and I want to be able to save thousands of people every day, and not only Gilad Schalit."

Aguiar's family released a statement Thursday morning saying, "Guma Aguiar has been subjected for a prolonged period of time to intensive emotional pressures caused by malicious court cases in the United States concerning past business dealings with his uncle."

His family said that he was the "victim of a campaign of invasive surveillance and false accusations that generated what amounted to psychological terrorism."

On Wednesday evening, according to the statement, "Guma's family entered him into a healthcare facility in Israel to obtain suitable examinations and treatment as needed. He will undergo tests for the next two weeks and his situation will be closely monitored by the Aguiar family."

In October, Aguiar said he had hired top legal expert (and blogger) Alan Dershowitz to defend him in a US case where he claims that police officers assaulted him.

Aguiar was arrested after allegedly driving recklessly. The American Fox News network reported that he confessed to the officers that arrested him to having smoked a marijuana cigarette.

He claimed that the police would not let him talk to either his mother or his attorneys.

Last month, Aguiar proclaimed himself the new Betar owner, five months after giving the team $4 million as a sponsor.

The 32-year-old Brazilian-American told The Jerusalem Post that Russian businessman Arkadi Gaydamak, who has owned Betar for the last four years, agreed to transfer ownership to Aguiar during meetings in Moscow this month.

Aguiar has been trying to take control of the club since the summer, but has run into legal problems due to debts incurred by Gaydamak while he was directly involved. The Russian left Israel in November 2008 after losing the Jerusalem mayoral election and has yet to return.

Despite the jubilant tone of Aguiar's announcement one of his spokesmen denied the deal had been completed.

Jeremy Last contributed to this report

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