Gaydamak wants Russia citizenship back

Billionaire to give up Israeli citizenship to avoid French prosecution if request granted, lawyer says.

February 26, 2009 12:26
arkadi gaydamak 88 224

arkadi gaydamak 88 224. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])


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Arkadai Gaydamak has lodged an application to reclaim his Russian citizenship, the Russian-Israeli billionaire's attorney told Army Radio on Thursday morning. Gaydamak was forced to give up the citizenship when he made aliya to Israel in the 1970s, as Russian law does not permit dual-citizenship. The attorney said Gaydamak would surrender his Israeli citizenship if Russia's Interior Ministry grants his request. As there is no legal agreement between Paris and Moscow, France will not be able to proceed with the arms-trafficking lawsuit that it is currently pressing against the billionaire, if his request is approved. Prosecutors allege that two of the 41 suspects - Gaydamak and French businessman Pierre Falcone - organized the sale of Russian arms to Angola from 1993-2000, for a total of $791 million, in breach of French government rules. The other suspects, including Jean-Christophe Mitterrand and other members of France's political elite, are accused of receiving money or gifts - undeclared to tax authorities - from a company run by Falcone in exchange for political or commercial favors. The verdict in the case is due on March 4.

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