Putin ally to head European Jewish Congress

Russian tycoon Moshe Kantor was elected president of the Paris-based European Jewish Congress on Tuesday, despite concern over his close ties to the Kremlin. Kantor, 53, defeated the incumbent president Pierre Besnainou by a vote of 55-30, according to unofficial election results. Israeli foreign ministry officials had voiced concern that as head of the umbrella organization representing European Jewry, Kantor's close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin could undermine Israel's efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Kantor has said that his close links to the Kremlin are good for the Jews and might prove helpful in dealing with the Iranian issue.