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Russian tycoon accused of fraud

October 02, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Israeli authorities filed fraud and money-laundering charges against an enigmatic Russian-born tycoon who has fled the country, according to court documents.

Prosecutors say Arkady Gaydamak conspired with senior Israeli banking executives to conceal financial activities worth around $175 million. Officers of one of Israel's leading banks were also indicted.

Gaydamak became a celebrity in Israel even though he did not speak Hebrew and had a checkered past. He faces an international arrest warrant in a French investigation of alleged arms trafficking to Angola in the early 1990s.

He bought a soccer club in Jerusalem and underwrote philanthropic projects such as a beach vacation village for Israelis fleeing Hezbollah rocket fire in 2006. He left Israel for Russia last year under a cloud of suspicion and after defeat in his bid to become mayor of Jerusalem.

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