Russian-Israeli businessman denies money laundering

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Russian-Israeli businessman Arkady Gaydamak, who failed two years ago to be elected mayor of Jerusalem, denied on Wednesday charges of money laundering.

Gaydamak, who has been living in Russia since 2008 on 2.5 million dollar bail, appeared in a Tel Aviv court charged with laundering 650 million shekels (167 million dollars), falsifying documents and breaking banking laws.

"The charges are incomprehensible; I am accused of things that make no sense," he told AFP following the hearing.

Gaydamak is accused of seeking to buy a Dutch company without revealing that he was providing the money for the deal in contravention of laws on money laundering.

Gaydamak -- an Angolan, Canadian, Israeli and French passport holder -- was convicted last year in absentia and sentenced to six years in jail for organising arms sales to Angola during its 1990s civil war, a scandal that led to the jailing of Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, son of the late French president.

© 2010 AFP

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