Israeli Mogul Gaydamak Accepts Plea Bargain, Fraud Charge Dropped

Russian-Israeli businessman will plead guilty to 'obtaining benefits via a ruse that did not entail outright fraud.'

Lawyers representing Arcadi Gaydamak have reached a plea bargain with the prosecution, under which the businessman will plead guilty to "obtaining benefits via a ruse that did not entail outright fraud."

This is significantly less serious than the charges of money laundering and fraud Gaydamak has been facing.

Gaydamak - Milrod - 2.2012
Moti Milrod

Under the charges dating from October 2009, Gaydamak could not do business openly in Europe because he was wanted in France on gun-running charges. He therefore used a front man, Nahum Galmor, to negotiate to buy a Dutch phosphates company for $50 million, believes the prosecution. In the process, Gaydamak hid the fact that he was the true buyer, states the prosecution.

As part of the plea deal, Gaydamak will pay the state NIS 3 million and will agree to a year of probation.

The plea bargain, reached with the white-collar crime prosecution, will be brought before the Tel Aviv District Court today.

Galmor, is also expected to sign a plea bargain involving a NIS 3 million fine.

The plea bargain comes after District Court Judge Zvi Gurfinkel hinted bluntly to the prosecution that it should reconsider the charges against the two men.

"The fact that the prosecution has conspiracy theories on the brain doesn't mean a thing," the judge said while grilling witnesses at a hearing three months ago.