far, there are three major "suspects"
involved with the case and associated (along with
many others yet to be disclosed) with the laundering
of millions and millions of dollars. These three
bring not only dual citizenships, but a vast baggage
and even a trail of international warrants and concerns.
It appears that organized crime and organized politick
have been finely interwoven so that, by Israel's
past standard, those considered suspect and/or criminal
by other countries have not only been allowed entry
and refuge, but have been allowed further profit
with better ability to hide those profits. These
three suspects have major influence and media control
but will probably implicate Israel's richest circles
and largest banks.
While non violent Jewish peace activists, such as
Kate Raphael of International
Women's Peace Service, are detained and deported
because of organizing and witnessing non violent
resistance in ongoing struggle of rural Palestinian
villages under siege by Israeli soldiers, it seems
that Israel shows much less discrimination in allowing
oligarchs with underworld ties free entry, aliyah
and even further protection of their "racket".
Another American, Patrick
O'Connor of the International Solidarity movement
was arrested for planting olive trees in Biddu and
was taken in shackles to court where he was silenced
and later deported. While Israel continues to persecute
NON VIOLENT human rights activists, one must wonder
about the selection process that has allowed men,
suspected of years of organized crimes and profiteering
to enter and find shelter in Israel. And in a land
Vanunu has been punished and is still being
punished, as a traitor for the act of whistleblowing
his concerns about a "secret" nuclear
arsenal, preferential treatment seems to always
follow the money trail.
So far, three major Russian oligarchs
have fallen under suspicion in this latest scandal
that is just beginning to rock major banking foundations
in Israel. All three have serious past issues and
backgrounds that read like characters from an old
James Bond story.
In 2001 Vladimir Gusinsky fled from Spain to Israel
in order to escape his Moscow prosecutors. The Spanish
government later declared that his alleged fraud
offenses were not really considered crimes in Spain.
Russian prosecutors pursued him again under another
international warrant. Mr Gusinsky escaped prosecution
by seeking shelter in Israel where he is now part
owner and a media magnate, owning one of Israel's
largest daily papers, Maariv International. Haaretz
recently provided information about how Gusinsky
laundered his dollars and shekels.
Nevzlin is presently still a murder case suspect
in Russia. His business "opportunities"
involved the collapse of the Yukos oil company.
He is one of Russia's
Arkady Gaydamak (his Hebrew name Ari Barlev)
has been linked to arms dealing and para military
training from 1994-2000. According to an Israeli
listing of rich folk, similar to Forbes, Arkady
is worth about 800 million, known dollars.
To Israel's credit, the Israel
Money Laundering Prohibition Authority was launched
in 2002 and since its beginning, has seriously monitored
all types of suspicious transaction reports, especially
involving banks and insurance companies. Not to
Israel's credit, has been its past page history
of ignoring the wealthy criminal element who are
seeking refuge, further financial gain and tax shelters
via their aliyah.
And it appears that for many years, Israel provided
safe haven for the scoundrel and gangster element
who legally sought to evade justice from other foreign
authorities by declaring themselves citizens of
acusations of anti semitism, France has been critical
and vocal about Israel previously not living up
to its commitment against money laundering and underworld
profiteering. Under the guise of aliyah, gangsters
have had the ability to launder profits in Israel.
This has had grave consequences and repercussions
on Israel and the rest of the world.
Some of the alleged criminals who fled Russia and
other countries where even the best legal advice
may not have served to keep them unfettered, seem
to have slid right into polite society by making
huge contributions to very good causes.
Gaydamak contributed a million dollars to fund the
victims of Sept 11th in the USA. But just previous
to the 9 -11 attacks Gaydamak had fled France where
he was wanted for illegal gun running. tax evasion
and money laundering! As a New Yorker grievously
affected by 9-11, I vividly recall the mayor of
New York City refusing money from a Saudi prince
. Mayor Giuliani was either ignorant or not so discriminating
when it came to Gaydamak. At a later date he even
visited Israel and had dinner with Ariel Sharon
AND Gaydamak. There was not the same hesitation
applied to the Saudi
Gaydamak stands accused of financially benefiting
from gun running in both Angola and Afghanistan.
A million dollars will often buy access into many
types of political circles and the New York City
mayor never thought twice to accept money from Gaydamak.
Charity and the politick of charity has afforded
Mr Gaydamak a few cozy Israeli political connections
as well. He has close association with the present
government. He has a business partner who is former
Israeli tourism minister and ex IDF chief of staff.
His other business associate is Danny Yatom, who
once headed the Mossad. Gaydamak also employed another
former Mossad head, Avi Dagan.
While Gaydamak insists he was "financier of
deals" and NOT an arms dealer, a two year investigation
by the International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists reveals
him as a post Cold War entrepreneur with ties to
arms smuggling and para military force training,
including forces trained and sent to Lebanon.
He has no formal education and claims most of his
riches come from "luck".
In the seventies he had much closer ties to France.
He opened a "translation" bureau near
Paris and opened a branch in Canada. While still
in Russia, his post Soviet power structure included
connections that facilitated the purchasing of old
Soviet and East European weapons systems that had
a marketing value in Africa, Asia and South America.
In a 1995 Interpol communique from Russia, Gaydamak
was suspected of drug and firearms trafficking.
In 1995, Russian authorities said that Gaydamak
had these same connections and was also exercising
threats to the Bank of Russian Credit. Russian Interpol
contacted French Interpol and in 1996, Russian Interpol
said Gaydamak was "under suspicion" .
Gaydamak appears to "buy" protection through
his many charities, but in 2000, AngolaGate
erupted and directly involved French politicians,
including the son of former President Francois Mitterand.
At that time Gaydamak had a French partner Pierre
Joseph Falcone, who had inherited strong organized
ties to arms dealing in Venezuela and Argentina.
Business opportunities in arms dealing was everywhere!
"I knew Russia had an interest in ridding itself
of extra weapons and was greatly i need of cash,"
Gaydamak told Israeli publication "Yediot
Aharanot" in January 2000. "So I initiated
a deal in which Angola would sell oil franchises
and with the money earned buy weapons from Russian
"Naturally I received a handsome commission,
but was not party to the deal."
Angola in the nineties became a splendid place to
make money and fortunes were made dealing arms and/or
Prosecutors in Paris have documents that allegedly
prove that Falcone (who is now in prison) and Gaydamak
again masked "conflict" trade through
yet another company.
Impex furnished weapons to Angola up until 2000.
Gaydamak's "Strategic Consulting Group"
created a private military company and another commercial
opportunity for Gaydamak. He teamed up with two
former Mossad officials, Danny Yatom and Avi Dagan.
Gaydamak eluded arrest and moved to Israel, where
he claimed he had forgotten his military service.
AngolaGate had arrived and once more the accused
The United States has recently been forced to pay
closer attention to its relationship with Israel,
perhaps even to have finally made a healthier distance
between politicians and non political organizations
that attempt to influence and impose political codes
and morals. In the past we have allowed criminals
such as the Israeli computer hacker
who hacked into our NASA defense system to be returned
to Israel for "gentler" punishment. How
would an American have been treated for such crime?
Rosenstein has recently been charged by the
United States with smuggling hundreds of thousands
of ecstasy pills into this country over a long period
of time and making a vast fortune at it. His lawyer
is fighting extradition to the United States because
the punishment would be greater in the American
courts. What will Israel do?
The fact that laundering moneys used to devastate
other nations and support horrible regimes is now
held accountable in Israel, really gives the righteous
citizen, including righteous Israeli citizen cause
for hope. However, with such officials as those
who would condone, even wine and dine with racketeers,
there may not be the lung capacity to hold one's
breath waiting for either justice or an end to Occupation.
Mary La Rosa is a librarian who lives close to
NYC where she can be joined drumming for peace.