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19 June, 2024
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Cyprus to investigate billionaire’s missing millions

Israeli-Russian billionaire says he was kept in the dark after Luxembourg released hold on his money


A lawyer for a Jewish billionaire says he is confident Cypriot authorities will investigate a complaint into whether a former Israeli army officer embezzled his client’s money on the island.

Jewish attorney Nir Yaslovitzh visited police headquarters in Nicosia on Wednesday where he filed a complaint on behalf of Israeli-Russian businessman Arcadi Gaydamak, who is on a personal crusade to retrieve money allegedly stolen from him to the tune of over half a billion dollars.

Gaydamak has accused three individuals -a female banker in Luxembourg and her Israeli partner as well as an Israeli national in Cyprus- of embezzling his fortune that he had deposited in various fund structures according to court documents.

The businessman allegedly asked the banker to shop around for a financial institution where he could park $365 million from Cyprus via the Russian Commercial Bank

Media reports said the businessman, who left Paris before he was sentenced in absentia by a French court on arms trafficking charges, allegedly asked the banker to shop around for a financial institution where he could park $365 million from Cyprus via the Russian Commercial Bank.

Gaydamak had also given signing power for his accounts to Zeev Zacharin, a former Mossad agent who was said to have obtained a golden passport in Cyprus.

But after Gaydamak was no longer a target of investigations in Israel, the couple allegedly kept him in the dark.

The Israeli billionaire said he had been receiving “incorrect reports” and that “his trustees were hiding from him” the fact that Luxembourg authorities had ruled the “funds were legitimate and that they had no objection to their release” as early as summer 2005.

“One of them is a Cypriot,” Yaslovitzh said.

The lawyer, who became known on the island when he defended a number of Israeli boys who were caught up in the Ayia Napa rape case, added he was confident that Cypriot authorities would conduct a “very serious investigation.”

According to local media, retired Israeli General Zeev Zacharin is the owner of a company in Cyprus, where he is believed to have obtained citizenship through the country’s disgraced Citizenship Investment Program.

Zacharin, Gaydamak's former business partner, was facing last year multiple charges including breach of trust, fraud, and forgery, according to media reports citing court documents in Luxembourg.

Reports said the former high-ranked military official served as commander of an officer academy within Israeli Defense Forces, while he also trained in Africa and had business interests in private security and the diamond trade in Congo and Angola.

Cyprus police declined to comment on the case but confirmed a complaint had been filed with law enforcement authorities.


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