Gaydamak Says He Is Unable to Pay $3 Million Bond for Trial

Russian-Israeli businessman Arcadi Gaydamak has informed a Tel Aviv court that he cannot pay the $3 million bond required to guarantee his appearance at his upcoming money-laundering trial in Israel due to "cash-flow problems."

Gaydamak, who is presently in Russia, has been charged with laundering some NIS 650 million through Israel's Bank Hapoalim.

He was supposed to post the bond last week to guarantee his appearance at the trial. He said he was unable to put up the money and asked the court to reduce the bond or give him a two-month extension to raise the money.

"In recent weeks [Gaydamak's] foreign currency accounts in Russia have been frozen," Gaydamak's lawyers wrote to the Tel Aviv District Court. "Consequently, the applicant is having cash flow problems and cannot deposit the rest of the bond money on the fixed date. Until now the applicant has tried incessantly to raise the bond money in time, but in vain."

Gaydamak has already posted considerable sums to guarantee his appearance in Israel for the trial. He posted $4 million before his indictment, and prosecutors asked for an additional $6 million afterward. According to an agreement his attorneys reached with the prosecution, Gaydamak was to post $3.5 million dollars in cash on November 23, and $2.1 million in an account of Gaydamak's being held by the state was also to be considered part of the bond.

On November 23 Gaydamak asked court permission to pay only $500,000 and receive a month's extension for the rest. The court agreed, and Gaydamak was due to deposit the balance last week.

But then his lawyers, David Libai, Nati Simhoni and Ronen Rosenblum, asked the court to reexamine the terms.

"The applicant's economic situation has changed and he is no longer able to produce the sum he is to deposit today," they wrote.

The attorneys asked the court to take into consideration the decision made in the case of Nahum Galmor, another defendant.

Galmor was supposed to post a $7 million bond, but Judge Uzi Fogelman accepted Galmor's appeal and ruled that NIS 8 million would suffice.

"Galmor and Gaydamak are charged with transgressions of identical severity and scope," Gaydamak's lawyers wrote. "Both of them live outside Israel and the bond money in both cases is intended to guarantee their reporting to court for their trial."

The court has not dealt with the request so far.