Angolagate’s 2009 sentence, France

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The Angolagate is the name given to a vast affair of arms and war material sales between France and Angola by President Dos Santos in the years 1993-1998, during the civil war in Angola (1975-2002) and linked to that money laundering from arms trafficking.  The amount of these sales is estimated at some $ 790 million.

The sentence for the “Angolagate affair” was handed down on October 27, 2009. Charles Pasqua and Jean-Charles Marchiani were found guilty of taking money from Arkady Gaydamak and Falcone while knowing it was proceeds of crime, from the Slovak company ZTS Osos, having acounts at the Russian Bank Rossiyski Credit and COMMERCIAL BANK MOSKVA. Gaydamak claimed that the main shareholder of the Slovak company ZTS Osos, which he headed, was Russian arms exporter Spetsvneshtekhnika.

“According to Mr. CURIAL, Mr. FALCONE had explained that it was a Slovak company linked to the KGB, a service to which Mr. GAYDAMAK had been a member (page 178 of the sentence).”

Gaydamak, alias Bar Lev ARYE (his Israeli ID) and Falcone were found guilty of illegal arms deals, tax fraud, money laundering, embezzlement and others, sentenced to six years in prison and multi-million-euro fines each. Gaydamak was sentenced in absentia. Falcone, who tried and failed to claim diplomatic immunity in the case, was taken into custody by police. Jean-Christophe Mitterrand was found guilty of receiving $2 million from Falcone and Gaydamak to promote their interests, and sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence and a €375,000 fine. In total, thirty six individuals were convicted of various levels of involvement in the scandal,21 of them appealed the decision.

Gaydamak also claimed that he had a diplomatic immunity as an Ambassador of Angola to UNESCO  (the court refused to consider a Gaydamak’s diplomatic immunity in France).

The Paris Court of Appeal’s decision was given on April 29, 2011. Gaydamak’s sentence was reduced to three years of prison and €375,000 fine for tax evasion and  laundering of money of “serious criminal origin” (p.73 of the appeal decision). The appeal decision confirmed the international arrest warrant for Gaydamak (ibid). The appeal court cleared the majority of defendants, including Gaydamak, for proper arms trafficking, accepting their claims that they acted on behalf of Angola’s government.

See more about the appeal decision (in French) and its criticism: the appeal trial was preceded by a singular episode. Five weeks before the opening of the hearing on this diplomatically and economically sensitive subject – Angola is one of the largest oil producers in Africa – President Christian Pers was surprised to learn of his sudden promotion to the Court of Cassation and its immediate replacement. Before that, Mr. Pers had made two unwelcome decisions by refusing to grant the defendant, partner of Gaydamak Pierre Falcone’s requests for release.

During the trial was said that to be involved in legal oil businesses in Angola via Glencore. (See also, Glencore’s involvement in Nordex with Grigory Luchanski, p.92).

Gaydamak said to Russian press that the case is of ” pure politics”. In the same interview, Gaydamak said he helped Lev Leviev alias Levaev to set up diamonds trading with Angola, having a company Africa Israel together with Levaev. In 2012, Gaydamak sued Leviev in London over unpaid commission for diamond businesses and lost the suite.

In 2018 brother and son of Levaev were reportedly arrested in Israel in the case of diamonds smuggling.  (See also mentions of Levaev in a Gennady Petrov’s conversation from Tambovskaya gang case and an Austrian Prosecution’s document on Leviev’s link to Mikhail Chernoy from Izmaylovskaya gang).

Taiwanchik (Alimzhan Toktakhunov) claimed in an interview that Gaydamak was his friend. Gaydamak resides in Moscow.

In 1972, Gaydamak emigrated to Israel and than to France from USSR on the so-called Jewish exit visa. See more on this type of emigration and suspicion of cooperation with KGB of the new immigrants also involved in organized crime, raised by Swiss Intelligence (2007) and an FBI report (90ths).

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