gideon ezra face 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra and Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi met with their French counterparts in Paris on Sunday for high-level talks that focused on the recent violent riots in France and a money-laundering investigation against Russian billionaire Arkady Gaydamak, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Karadi and Ezra traveled to Paris on Sunday for three days of "classified meetings" with senior government and law enforcement officials including French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Per France's request, Karadi brought along with him Asst.-Cmdr. Ya'acov Nehemia, head of the police's Special Forces, who police said would advise and train the French police in riot control techniques.
In November, French police arrested close to 3,000 people after thousands of Muslim and African youths rioted across the country. Dozens were injured in the riots and close to 9,000 cars were torched. The rioting only dissipated after the French parliament approved a three-month extension of emergency laws allowing authorities to impose curfews and conduct house-to-house searches.
The Israel Police is considered a world expert in counterterrorism as well as riot control. "We have experience in controlling riots and maintaining public order from the Palestinian intifada and the disengagement from the Gaza Strip," one senior officer explained.
"Karadi and Nehemia are also there to advise the French on how to effectively quell massive riots like there were in France in November," he said.
In addition to riot control, "the talks are focusing on enhancing the level of cooperation between Israel and France with regard to international crime fighting, including the Gaydamak investigation," the officer revealed.
Sources close to Gaydamak speculated that the talks explored France's interest in possibly issuing an extradition request for the Russian billionaire.
Gaydamak, who recently purchased the Betar Jerusalem soccer club and is said to be one of the wealthiest Israelis, is under investigation in Israel by the police's Serious and International Crimes Unit over his alleged involvement in a massive Bank Hapoalim money-laundering scheme.
The year-long investigation has focused on Bank Hapoalim's Hayarkon Branch in Tel Aviv, where a $50 million transfer was made into bank accounts owned by Gaydamak. Police are looking into the source of that transfer.
French authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Gaydamak over his alleged involvement in an international arms scandal involving the son of former French president Francois Mitterrand. Israel Police suspect that the money found in Gaydamak's Bank Hapoalim accounts was obtained illegally and is possibly connected to the French investigation.
Police plan to question Gaydamak in the coming weeks and have already confiscated close to NIS 5 million from his Bank Hapoalim accounts. Police reportedly believe that, despite Gaydamak's refusal to cooperate with the investigation, he will in the end be charged with money laundering and additional funds of his will be confiscated.
In a recent interview with the Post, Gaydamak rejected the accusations against him and claimed that all of his money was obtained legally. "Show me somebody who will tell you that the origins of the money are not clean," he said. "Show me what I did wrong."