Israeli billionaires' diamond battle

By Jessica Elgot, December 21, 2011
Arcadi Gaydamak secured diamond industry contracts for Lev Leviev

Arcadi Gaydamak secured diamond industry contracts for Lev Leviev

Two Israeli billionaires will battle it out in a British court in May, after a judge ruled that there had been an agreement for the religious Russian-born tycoon Lev Leviev to give Arcadi Gaydamak 50 per cent of his income from diamonds in Angola.

Mr Gaydamak had made money selling oil in Angola and secured diamond industry contracts for Mr Leviev in the country after the civil war in the late 1990s.

Mr Leviev apparently made billions from the diamond industry, half of which he promised to Mr Gaydamak - who did not want to be publicly associated with the sales at the time.

The agreement between the two men was apparently given to Berel Lazar, Chabad’s chief rabbi in Russia. Mr Gaydamak claims he has not received the majority of the money from Mr Leviev.

Rabbi Lazar denied having the contract, even when approached by an Israeli television station.

Last week the High Court’s Deputy Master Nurse ruled that the case could proceed to trial, indicating that an agreement did indeed exist between the two. Mr Leviev was refused leave to appeal and must pay Mr Gaydamak £40,000 in costs.

Mr Gaydamak said: “I am delighted with the outcome of the hearing. The judge recognised that I had a genuine belief that I had been tricked into settling the case by Mr Leviev, and that the case should carry on.”
A trial date has been set for 21 May 2012 for five days.

Last updated: 2:48pm, December 21 2011