Business Scene REGARDLESS OF the ulterior motives that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz attach to the generosity of philanthropist Arkadi Gaydamak, whose business interests are sufficiently profitable to afford him an almost limitless capacity for giving, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has decided that French charges against Gaydamak for tax evasion and money laundering do not carry moral turpitude and that he, therefore, is eligible to acquire the regional radio station 99 Escape. The transaction still requires the approval of the Second Channel Broadcasting Authority, but chances are high that it will not put any obstacles in his path. Gaydamak has been involved in negotiations for the purchase for the best part of half a year, but the deal could not be completed without a green light from the Attorney General. This is but one of the expensive toys on which Gaydamak is spending his money. Globes, the financial daily, reported that Gaydamak has also acquired the historic building on Rothschild Boulevard that was the original Russian Embassy building. The property belonged to Alrov, which is headed by Alfred Akirov, and had been on the market for a long time. According to the report, Gaydamak shelled out $9 million for transfer of ownership. The impressive, stately building in its initial incarnation was a private home designed by architect Yehuda Magidovich for the extremely affluent Levin family, which in the 1920s was in the forefront of Tel Aviv's high society. Built in 1924, it changed hands several times, and in 1948 became the Embassy of the USSR. Akirov invested a great deal of money in renovating the property, which had fallen into neglect. The building, which is included in the list of protected sites to be preserved for posterity regardless of the way in which the city of Tel Aviv develops, is only a few years younger than Tel Aviv itself. Shalon Ventures, an American life sciences investment company, has announced the launch of an Israeli branch. Founded in 2000 by Teddy and Dari Shalon, Shalon Ventures is strategically focused on the pre-seed stages of innovative product ideas with groundbreaking potential. Shalon Ventures has a long and successful history of partnering with physicians and scientists with innovative ideas and developing these pre-seed ideas into successful companies. Shalon's portfolio includes companies that were successfully acquired, such as: Synteni, a pioneer in the field of DNA microarrays, which was acquired by Incyte and Biopolymerix, a developer of a silver-based antimicrobial coating for medical applications, which was acquired by Biocompatibles International. Over the past two years, Shalon co-founded and launched three new companies in cooperation with leading physicians and researchers in the US: OsteoGenix, a therapeutic products company developing novel products for the large and rapidly growing market of traumatic bone repair and bone growth; AirXpanders, which is developing a next generation tissue expansion platform for use in plastic reconstructive surgery and skin burn treatment; and iWhisper - an excess weight reduction company, which is developing a discreet, lightweight and wearable device that helps users lose weight and keep it off. According to Dari Shalon Ph.D., the Shalon Ventures co-founder who manages the Israeli branch, Shalon Ventures focuses on developing medical devices and new indications or delivery platforms for FDA-approved drugs. Shalon's own investments enable each new venture to reach a significant milestone, for example first-in-man clinical trials. According to Dari Shalon, the decision to operate in Israel derives from the recognition of the creativity and entrepreneurial potential among Israeli physicians and life science researchers. In addition to Dr. Dari Shalon, the company's Israeli team will also be headed by Amir Barzilay, a serial entrepreneur and former CEO and chairman of several start-up companies in a variety of fields in the life science industry. RAHAV COMMUNICATIONS, one of the largest public relations and communications agencies in Israel has announced new executive appointments. The firm was founded in 1992 by Ran Rahav and his wife Hila. The joint managing director with the Rahavs is Amalia Glaser. The firm has a staff of 32 - most of them trained account executives, who deal on a daily basis with some one hundred of Israel's leading companies. The new executive appointments involve Ruthi Romshtein, 36, married with one child, who has been part of the Rahav team since 1998. Romshtein and Rinat Brovinsky have both been appointed deputy general directors of the company. Brovinsky is 37, and married with one child. She joined the company in 2000. Dalia Ezer-Malimovka, 41 and the mother of three, though trained in economics, business management and political science, has been in public relations for 13 years, and is a new member of the Rahav team. She comes in as a deputy general director. Libi Biranboim, 33, after four years with the company, has been put in charge of the society affairs department. Shiri Feldman, 29 with two children, has been given responsibility for content and television. She has been with Rahav Communications since 2002. One of the secrets of Rahav's success is that he treats both his clients and his staff as members of one extended family. SUPERPHARM CEO Lior Reitblatt, who also functions as President of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a position he "inherited" from Leon Koffler who heads the Superpharm chain, attended the recent conference in Tel Aviv organized by the Israel Diabetes Association and presented Health Minister Yaacov Ben-Izri with a check for NIS 420,000 that was collected throughout the Superpharm chain during diabetes awareness month. STOCKHOLDERS ATTENDING the general meeting of the Teuza Venture Capital Fund, which is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, elected Dr. Zvi Meiri to serve an additional term as an external director. Meiri who serves on the boards of several public and private companies, has twice been awarded the Israel defense Prize and has served in executive positions with IBM and Rafael. MALAM HAS announced the appointment of Yael Weinbach as head of its social services department. The position calls for the preparation and implementation of budgets for the welfare of employees. In addition, Weinbach will deal with the needs of the company's 1,500 employees on a personal basis and will also be responsible for organizing and overseeing all of the company's events. Weinbach was previously sales manager for Arnon-Paz Productions, where she managed budgets and produced events, conferences and meaningful vacations. In previous jobs, she was mainly concerned with human resources. A Hebrew University alumnus, she has a Bachelors degree in sociology. She is married with two children. CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION President Nissim Bublich has decided to promote deputy director of budgets Yossi Gordon, 35, to the position of director-general of the Association. The nomination will be presented to the Association's presidium for approval at its next meeting. A Hebrew University graduate in economics and business administration, Godron began working with the Association in 1997, filling various important positions. For the three-and-a-half years, he has served as deputy director of budgets. He is expected to enter into his new position in mid-December. SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY'S Murray Gillin, Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, came to Israel to join Liora Katzenstein in celebrating the tenth anniversary of the institute that he helped her to found in partnership with Australia's Swinburne. At a ceremony held at the residence of Australian Ambassador James Larsen, Gillen in referring to ISEMI, the Institute for the Study of Entrepreneurship and Management , which is the name that Katzenstein gave to her brainchild, spoke of his pride in being part of Israel's economic development. "I'm proud to be associated with something that brings about growth to a growing and developing country," he said. Addressing himself specifically to Katzenstein, Gillin, a world authority on entrepreneurship said: "You're the true academic, business, social and community entrepreneur. You've made it happen, and you see it happen." Several Israel start-ups have been developed in the ISEMI classroom and have gone on to make millions. THE NEW deputy head of marketing Leumi Mortgage Bank is Roni Yaacobi, 44. Highly experienced in marketing, Yaacobi has been head of marketing for Delek and more recently was deputy head of marketing for the academic track of the College of Management. He has a degree in business administration from the Hebrew University and majored in marketing and business initiative. THE JOHN Bryce Matrix Company has announced that Revital Vered is the new head of placements at John Bryce Job, the placement division of John Bryce Training. She will be responsible for finding new jobs for trainees who have successfully completed the John Bryce course, and for establishing contacts with potential employers.