(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Arkady Gaydamak has filed a complaint against Lev Leviev with the Israel Police in a dispute over African diamonds.
the complaint, Gaydamak contends that Leviev has not paid him
commissions and dividends on diamonds trading in Angola and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2004. He contends that the value
of these is $2 billion.
In a press statement, Gaydamak said: “In 1999, in cooperation with the
Angolan government, I set up a new method for diamond exports. When the
commercial structure for diamond exports was established, I invited Lev
Leviev to manage parts of this commercial structure, under verbal and
written agreements that included an equal share of the profits.
“Leviev and his partner Berel Lazar, Chabad’s chief rabbi in Russia,
maliciously concealed the existence of the written contract. They
subsequently fraudulently used the repercussions of the political
persecution against me in France, organized a campaign to smear me in
the media and made mendacious claims against me with the authorities in
various countries around the world in order to fraudulently take from me
my substantial profits, which totaled billions of dollars over 12 years
from various businesses related to Angola.”Acts can be considered criminal
“Leviev used sworn testimony, fraud and
extortion against me and tried to avoid a ruling by the High Court in
London in the statement of claim I filed against him to protect my
rights,” the statement said. “Leviev’s acts can be considered criminal,
which is why I filed a criminal complaint against him with the Israel
In December, the High Court’s deputy master nurse in London ruled that
the case between them would go to trial on May 21. The judge ruled that
there had been an agreement for Leviev to give Gaydamak half of his
income from diamonds in Angola.
The agreement between the two men was apparently given to Lazar.
Gaydamak claims he has not received the majority of the money from
Leviev apparently made billions from the diamond industry, half of which
he promised to Gaydamak, who did not want to be publicly associated
with the sales at the time, the court said.From friends to enemies
Leviev and Gaydamak used to be friends and
business partners. In the early 2000s, Gaydamak owned 15 percent of
Leviev-controlled Africa-Israel Investments Ltd., after buying 5% of the
company from a foreign shareholder and 10% from Leviev for $56 million.
At the same time, Leviev and Gaydamak were both linked to the diamond
industry in Africa and set up a diamond-trading company as a joint
venture, ASCROP. There have been reports that Gaydamak brought Leviev
into Angola’s diamond mines.
Shortly afterward, they parted ways and Gaydamak sold his Africa-Israel stake to Leviev at a negligible profit.
Gaydamak also became entangled in the Angola-based illegal arms scandal
in France, although he was later acquitted on most of the charges. He
was found guilty on lesser charges of arms trafficking and sentenced in
absentia to three years in prison.
Last April, Gaydamak filed a statement of claim against Leviev in a
London court, saying Leviev has not paid him commissions and dividends
on diamonds trading in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
since 2004. He contends that he received an average of $3m. a month from
Leviev in 2000-03 and estimated the value of these is $2b.
The dispute concerns Gaydamak’s and Leviev’s business relations in
ASCROP, whose shareholders also include the Angolan government and
Antwerp-based Omega Diamonds BVBA, according to reports. Gaydamak
contends that Leviev owns 24.5% of ASCROP and that his involvement in it
is kept secret because they agreed that “Leviev’s public perception as
an owner and the owner of the relevant assets is only as a matter of
convenience.” Gaydamak also contends that Leviev is the trustee of
Leviev is fighting against these charges, which he told a British newspaper are “embarrassing and hurtful.”
On March 1, 2006, Gaydamak’s attorney at the time wrote to Leviev: “My
client intends to approach the Chabad chief rabbi in Russia, the
honorable Rabbi Berel Lazar, with a request to send us a copy of the
agreement deposited with him by you and by my client in the matter of
your partnership in diamond transactions in Angola... The partnership in
equal share between my client and you in Angola also concerns every
other transaction carried out in Angola. You are hereby also requested
to immediately send us every document, financial report and other
information relating to other transactions conducted in Angola over the
past six years.”
The day before, on February 28, the media reported that the Angolan
government had canceled its diamondexport agreement with Gaydamak due to
suspicions of breach of contract.
Last month, Gaydamak won an interim victory against Leviev, when the
High Court in London ruled against Leviev’s petition to dismiss