The authority ruled that that Gaydamak’s involvement in the political arena as head of the Social Justice party, presents a conflict of interests as he could use the station to promote his own political goals and ensure journalistic freedom.
Gaydamak has voiced an interest in running for mayor of Jerusalem in the upcoming municipal elections in November.
The Second Authority’s council decided that keeping 99 FM open would be in the public's best interest, and voted in favor of allowing its employees to continue working.
For this reason, it was decided that Gaydamak’s control of the station will immediately be transferred to a trustee, who must sell Gaydamak’s stocks by December 15, 2008.
Trouble in Russia
Meanwhile on the Russian front, Gaydamak is in the midst of closing his second newspaper within a one year span. At the end of 2007, Gaydamak closed his popular paper entitled Moskovskie Novosti and he presently intends on closing his economic newspaper entitled FM & Business.
Officials in his media group have said that from the time of the newspaper’s inception, they intended on closing after a while and replacing the typed version with an internet one.
When Gaydamak acquired FM & Business he paid $6 million and a similar investment was made in order to launch its computerized version. Russian sources say Gaydamak offered to sell it for $2 million.
Marketing executives from other newspapers claimed that it is almost impossible to sell the publication since it is not popular among potential readers or amongst advertisers. According to market research, the newspaper’s annual income dropped from $2.5 million to $1.5 million.
The rumors spreading in Russia have been that Gaydamak is interested in selling his entire media group and that he has offered to do so for $80-$100 million. Experts from the field estimate the net worth of his media group at $30-$40 million. Gaydamak himself has denied all such claims.
Calcalist reporter Olga Viniar contributed to this report