U.K. Court Lets Gaydamak Proceed With Suit Against Leviev

Ruling is the latest twist in the long-running dispute between the former partners; Gaydamak claims the two signed agreement to divide profits of their Angola business, while Leviev claims no such agreement existed.

Danna Harman
Danna Harman
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Danna Harman
Danna Harman

LONDON - A London court has ruled that controversial Russian businessman Arcadi Gaydamak, who is suing for a share of his former partner Lev Leviev's diamond business in Angola, can proceed with his suit and set a court date for May 2012.

The ruling, which was issued two weeks ago but was embargoed until this week, is the latest twist in the long-running dispute between the former partners. Gaydamak claims the two had signed an agreement to divide the profits of their Angola business, while Leviev claims no such agreement existed.

If he wins the case, Gaydamak reportedly stands to gain $2 billion.

Gaydamak says the Chabad chief rabbi in Russia, Berel Lazar, witnessed the signing of the contract over a decade ago and was entrusted with its safekeeping. But Lazar has sided with Leviev, saying no such document exists. That prompted Gaydamak to accuse him of complicity in what he termed Leviev's attempt to steal the money.

Now, fresh from a different battle in the French courts - in which he recently managed to clear himself of most charges in the arms-trafficking case dubbed "Angola-gate" - Gaydamak has turned his attention to this case and scored a first-round victory: A British court agreed the matter should be pursued.

"I am delighted with the outcome of the hearing," Gaydamak said in a statement given to Haaretz. "The judge recognized that I had a genuine belief that I had been tricked into settling the case by Mr. Leviev, and that the case should carry on."

He said the trial was scheduled to take place over five days starting on May 21, 2012.

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