gaydamak aj 224.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court on Tuesday upheld a State request to obligate Russian-Israeli billionaire and Jerusalem mayoral candidate Arkadi Gaydamak to make guarantees before leaving the country. The tycoon will have to post a $2.5 million cash bond or bank guarantee, or assets, to the State's satisfaction if he wishes to leave Israel.
The prosecution requested last week that a sum of $5 million be deposited to guarantee his return to the country, in light of investigations into new claims against him in the Bank Hapoalim case.
Gaydamak has faced a long-standing police investigation into allegations of money laundering, and was last questioned in mid-May at the Serious and International Crime Unit's (SICU) Petah Tikva Headquarters.
Gaydamak vehemently denies reports that in 2000, he transferred nearly half a million shekels out of a Bank Hapoalim account as part of a larger money laundering scheme.
Also, he is now on trial in absentia in France on charges of gunrunning to Angola.
State attorneys at the hearing Tali Negiri and Liran Hayim claimed that a series of circumstances justified the necessity for the guarantees: Gaydamak has family abroad, he spends several months abroad every year, he holds four foreign passports including an Israeli passport and a diplomatic passport. He also owns a private jet and two yachts.
Gaydamak's representative, attorney Shlomo ben Aryeh, claimed that his client was being politically oppressed in the lead-up to Jerusalem municipal elections.
Gaydamak's office said he was "stunned" by the ruling, adding that he had not been charged with with any offense and was in the middle of an election campaign. However, it added that he would post the money if he wanted to travel.
Yaakov Lappin and AP contributed to this report.
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