Police grill Gaydamak in laundering case

Billionaire accuses police and judges of "personal persecution," says he'll "beat Olmert" in elections.

arkadi gaydamak 88 224 (photo credit: ar)
arkadi gaydamak 88 224
(photo credit: ar)
Businessman and aspiring politician Arkadi Gaydamak was questioned under caution Monday at the headquarters of the Serious and International Crime Unit (SICU) in Petah Tikva for his alleged involvement in a money laundering affair at a Tel Aviv branch of Bank Hapoalim. Gaydamak has been questioned in connection with the affair several times in the past. Several months ago, investigators at the SICU, who recommended that Gaydamak be indicted for money laundering, completed their investigation in Israel. Afterwards they headed to The Netherlands to obtain documents relating to actions made in Gaydamak's bank account. During 2003, money was moved from several of Gaydamak's accounts to the bank account of a company called "Kazakh Phosphates," which was listed as being owned by Nahum Galmor, who used to represent Gaydamak's interests in several countries. The sum transferred to Kazakh Phosphates, 52 million dollars, was intended to be used in the purchase of a large bank-owned phosphate company in Holland. Later that year, after news of the police investigation was leaked to them by the bank, Gaydamak and Galmor withdrew the sum from the account. "This is nothing less than the personal persecution of police and judges against me," he said at the entrance to the headquarters of the police's Serious and International Crime Unit in Petah Tikva. "I am not only fighting for myself but for all of justice in Israel." Gaydamak also referred to his fledgling political party, "Justice for Pensioners", which has come under criticism for luring away three MKs from the Gil pensioners' party. "They are trying to deny me the possibility of entering politics," he said, declaring that "Despite the persecution I'll win, and in the upcoming elections I will also beat Prime Minister Ehud Olmert."