Arcadi Gaydamak
Photo: Reuven Schwartz

Businessman Gaydamak leaves Israel

Police officials confirm Israeli-Russian billionaire departed country after paying all required guarantees. Speaking from Russia, Gaydamak says 'I didn't run away'

Russian-born Israeli businessman Arcadi Gaydamak left Israel this week, police sources confirmed Friday morning following reports first published on Israeli Russian-language websites.


According to the reports, Gaydamak departed the country under a veil of secrecy. In a first interview since leaving the country, Gaydamak said Friday, "I didn't run away."


In a phone conversation with the businessman, conducted through his secretary, he added, "I don't understand what the problem is. I continue to run my businesses, and I just left for Russia for 10 days for this exact purpose."


Police sources told Ynet that Gaydamak had received permission to leave the country after paying all required guarantees following his financial debts.


Last month, the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court issued a stay of exit order against Gaydamak, in order to ensure he does not flee police questioning on the money laundering charges brought against him in a case involving a Dutch company.


"In any case, I spend half of the year in Israel and half of the year in Russia, and there's nothing special about it," Gaydamak added in the phone conversation. "What's the matter? Can't I go out and work? What is all this commotion about?"


He concluded by saying, "I'll honor all my commitments."


Political failure

The person who became a household name in Israel after conquering one business enterprise after another and helping the residents of rocket-stricken communities, has been in the midst of a collapse in the past few weeks.


Shortly after his failure in the recent municipal elections, Gaydamak declared that he was no longer interested in local Israeli politics. Despite his ambitious campaign, In his race for Jerusalem mayor he only received some 5,000 votes.  


He then washed his hands off his Social Justice party and left it in the hands of some of its activists and supporters. 


Sources in the Beitar Jerusalem football club, which is owned by Gaydamak, were not surprised by his departure. Businessmen involved in the team have already began searching for a new investor.


The businessman cannot enter France and many other Western countries due to an arrest warrant issued against him.


Ofer Petersburg, Efrat Weiss, Yael Branovsky, Izzy Ein Dor and Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 12.19.08, 09:51
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