Israeli businessman Gaidamak protests innocence of French charges

© RIA Novosti . Aleksey Nikolskyi / Go to the photo bankIsraeli businessman Gaidamak protests innocence of French charges
Israeli businessman Gaidamak protests innocence of French charges - Sputnik International
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Arkady Gaidamak, an Israeli businessman of Soviet origin, has protested his innocence in a Russian newspaper interview after he was sentenced in absentia by a French court to six years in prison.

Arkady Gaidamak, an Israeli businessman of Soviet origin, has protested his innocence in a Russian newspaper interview after he was sentenced in absentia by a French court to six years in prison.

Gaidamak was convicted of illegal arms deliveries to Angola, tax evasion and corruption, and the Paris court on October 27 handed down jail terms to him and his partner, French entrepreneur Pierre Falcone, who was immediately taken into custody.

The businessman's lawyers in France have filed an appeal.

In an interview published by the business daily Vedomosti on Wednesday, Gaidamak said the case was "pure politics" but vowed to return to France and prove his innocence. He is believed to be in Russia, but has French, Angolan, Israeli and Canadian citizenship.

"I have great respect for Russia but have not applied for citizenship. I will end up going to France to explain that I was right and that the harassment against me is politically motivated," he said.

In all, 42 people stood trial, including former French interior minister Charles Pasqua and Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, the son of late French president Francois Mitterrand. Six were acquitted.

Gaidamak also told the paper he had lost all his business interests due to the case, and would not try to start again until he had cleared his name.

He denied breaking any arms embargo, saying that all shipments were made by Russian state companies.

"I myself have never participated in the supply of military equipment. My role was to sell oil and guarantees payment," he was quoted as saying.

MOSCOW, November 18 (RIA Novosti)

 

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