Aguiar intends to continue involvement with Betar, Hapoel

“In the next six months, I am going to have a lot of fun. I am in the driver’s seat. I’m the one with the cash.”

February 18, 2010 14:02
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Betar Jerusalem sponsor Guma Aguiar is adamant he will continue to be involved with the Israeli soccer club as well as Hapoel Jerusalem basketball club in the near future.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post  on Wednesday just hours after being released from Tel Hashomer Hospital’s psychiatric unit, the 32-year-old multi-millionaire insisted that a statement put out by his family’s lawyers two weeks ago claiming he will no longer continue sponsoring Betar and the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball club after this season was incorrect.

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“At the time I was hospitalized. I was being treated for high blood pressure and other things,” Aguiar said. “In the next six months, I am going to have a lot of fun. I am in the driver’s seat. I’m the one with the cash.”

Aguiar was forcibly entered into the Abarbanel Psychiatric Hospital on January 14 following a deterioration in his mental health, culminating in an announcement that he had visited captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

He was soon transferred to Tel Hashomer in Tel Aviv.

“I’m going to be very much involved with Betar,” Aguiar said.

However his direct connection to the club he
sponsored to the tune of $4 million in the summer will be put on hold for at least two or three weeks.

On Wednesday evening Aguiar left Israel for the
US, where he said he intended to hold business meetings and meet with his lawyers 

He also claimed he wants to look into getting involved financially with some American sports teams.

“There’s a few other teams that are looking for an infusion of cash,” he said.

For much of the second half of 2009 Aguiar was locked in negotiations over the possible purchase of Betar Jerusalem from Russian businessman Arkadi Gaydamak who abandoned Israel in November 2009.

While the negotiations did not bear fruit, apparently due to the considerable debts Gaydamak left behind in Israel, in December Aguiar suddenly announced that he was the owner of the club.

The announcement was followed by denials from his lawyer and other representatives, but on Wednesday Aguiar repeated the claim.

“People can talk and talk and write their articles. Make up stories here and there to try and get some buzz,” he said. “We [Aguiar and his wife Jamie] own the teams. At the end of the day when you’re the big boss you’re the man who calls the shots.”

Aguiar was unable to elaborate on his experiences during five weeks in hospital, saying simply, “It was a great experience. I’m glad I went through it.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Aguiar released a statement to the press which said the doctors had released him from Tel Hashomer due to a “recent notable improvement in his medical condition.”

“Guma was treated in the most dedicated an professional manner,” the statement read.

“My feeling is that the worst part is behind me. For the time being I intend to stay in a quiet and private environment with my wife and three children to rejuvenate,” Guma said in the statement.

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