Originally published at 10:00 pm CDT 6-14-2012
Did Chabad Oligarch Lev Leviev Steal $1 Billion With Chabad’s ‘Chief Rabbi’ Of Russia?
That question will be decided by a British High Court judge sometime this year.
Shmarya Rosemberg • FailedMessiah.com
Did Chabad Oligarch Lev Leviev steal $1 billion dollars from Arkady Gaydamak with the help of Chabad’s ‘chief rabbi’ of Russia?
That billion dollar question will be decided by a British High Court judge sometime this year, the Independent reported today.
The case involves the two Russian oligarchs (both who also have Israeli citizenship), Chabad’s Chief Rabbi of Russia, and the government Angola.
Leviev is Chabad’s chief financial backer in the Former Soviet Union.
The judge must decide whether Leviev, Gaydamak's former business partner, owes Gaydamak more than $1 billion for his part of an Angolan diamond venture.
The judge has already heard evidence from witnesses that include former Mossad agents, an Israeli war hero, the President of Angola, rabbis, and diamond dealers.
Claims and counter-claims abound: forged documents, missing documents – even double agents.
Gaydamak insists that he and Leviev signed an agreement 11 years ago that allowed Leviev was to hold Gaydamak’s share and income from the Angolan Diamond Selling Corporation, while paying Gaydamak regular dividends. But those dividends stopped suddenly in 2005, Gaydamak claims.
He also says the agreement was given to Chabad’s Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar to hold for safekeeping, a common practice, Gaydamak told me two years ago, among traditional Jews [especially in areas where the legal system is not reliable].
Leviev claims there was no such deal. Instead, Leviev says the document he and Gaydamak signed was an agreement stating that Gaydamak would donate to one of Leviev’s own charities.
Lazar admitted on Israeli television that he had been holding an envelope for the two men for safekeeping. But Lazar claimed that he did not know its contents because he did not look inside it, and anyway, he had since lost it.
According to Gaydamak, Lazar also did not answer repeated letters from Gaydamak's attorneys asking for the agreement. When Lazar was asked about the contract by an Israeli television news reporter in 2010. Gaydamak told me Lazar answered that he "lost" the envelope containing the signed agreement and did not mention that loss to Gaydamak until then because Leviev had told Lazar the document inside that envelope was "not important."
When asked by Failedmessiah.com for comment on this story in September 2010, Lazar called questions about the matter "intrusive." He objected to being called at his home and said he would answer questions if called at his office. When asked for the best number to reach him at there, Lazar hung up. A call the following morning shortly after 9:00 am Moscow time to the listed number of Chabad's chief rabbinate was not answered.
In August, Leviev and Gaydamak made another agreement in which, Leviev says, Gaydamak pledged to give up all of his claims without payment.
Gaydamak alleges that General Manuel Helder Vieira Dias Júnior – known as Kopelipa – who is one of the most powerful men in Angola, was working with Leviev. Kopelipa supposedly tricked Gaydamak into signing that agreement, which includes a confidentiality clause that protects the Angolan government.
Gaydamak says this contract was supposed to become active only after Leviev paid Gaydamak the hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation that Leviev allegedly promised him through General Kopelipa.
A judgment is expected this year.
You can read Gaydamak's 2010 version of the events here.