Arcadi Gaydamak agrees plea bargain

The District Attorney has dropped money laundering charges and Gaydamak will plead guilty to lesser offences.

Arcadi Gaydamak has won in the money laundering case at Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI), after the Tel Aviv District Attorney (Taxation and Economics) withdrew the charge in a plea bargain. The money laundering charge was the most serious of the charges against Gaydamak.

The plea bargain will be sent to the Tel Aviv District Court tomorrow for approval. Gaydamak will plead guilty to obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception, and will pay a fine of NIS 2-3 million. The charge of fraudulent receiving will also be dropped.

Withdrawing the money laundering charge is an admission of the prosecutor's defeat in the case, which was once called "the worst case of money laundering discovered in Israel."

The penalty for deceitful receiving is up to two years in prison, compared with the penalty for fraudulent receiving, which is three years, and five years for aggravated fraudulent receiving.

In October 2009, the prosecutor indicted Gaydamak for allegedly laundering NIS 650 million, aggravated fraud, and other charges. The indictment said that Gaydamak, Nahum Galmor, and officers of Bank Hapoalim subsidiary Hapoalim Trust Services acted to enable Gaydamak to acquire a Dutch phosphates producer through fraud by concealing his identity. Galmor was presented as the buyer, using $50 million of Gaydamak's money, which was presented as his own.

The trial opened in March 2011 before Tel Aviv District Court Judge Zvi Gurfinkel. The trial had been postponed several times, because Gaydamak refused to return to Israel on the grounds of ill health.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 14, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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