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Israeli police recommend charging tycoon Gaydamak

Written by: Staff
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JERUSALEM, Mar 24 (Reuters) Israeli police have recommended indicting Russian-born billionaire Arkady Gaydamak on money laundering charges, prompting the tycoon to accuse them of hounding him unfairly.

Police, who have questioned Gaydamak several times during a months-long investigation, said yesterday they had ''telling evidence'' that he broke money laundering laws -- though they did not accuse him directly of money laundering.

The accusations relate to the movement of about 50 million dollar through a Tel Aviv bank. A decision on whether to indict Gaydamak now lies with Israel's State Attorney.

''We have telling evidence which shows that Arkady Gaydamak broke money laundering laws,'' a police officer involved in the investigation told reporters.

Gaydamak, who leapt to fame in Israel after buying a soccer club, told a news conference in Tel Aviv that he was not guilty of money laundering.

''Now that the investigation is over I will do everything to prove that the police (were wrong),'' Gaydamak said.

''I have proof that from the moment I came to Israel they have not stopped investigating me. They know that they have no reason to probe.'' Gaydamak said that he had transferred around 50 million dollar to a company he owns in Kazakhstan that needed cash and that the money was returned when the company's finances were settled.

Gaydamak, who made his fortune in activities ranging from banking to agriculture and mining, owns two top sports teams in Israel -- the Betar Jerusalem soccer club and basketball team Hapoel Jerusalem.

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