Monday, 2nd July 2012
Rabbi’s evidence ‘Depreciated’
A prominent religious leader gave “very much depreciated” evidence during a legal row between two wealthy businessmen fighting over profits from African diamond sales, a High Court judge said yesterday.
Rabbi Berl Lazar, the leader of the Jewish community in Russia, made a written witness statement during the High Court dispute between Arcadi Gaydamak and Lev Leviev in London.
But Mr Justice Vos said Rabbi Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia, gave “no satisfactory explanation” for not attending the hearing nor for his “unwillingness” to give evidence by video link.
He added: “The force of his written evidence is, therefore, I regret to say, very much depreciated.”
Mr Gaydamak sued Mr Leviev - an internationally renowned diamond trader - in an attempt to enforce an “alleged written agreement” they had to “split interests” in an Angolan diamond trading company.
Mr Leviev said he had never signed the agreement.
Mr Justice Vos dismissed Mr Gaydamak’s damages claim against Mr Leviev in a ruling handed down today following a trial which started in May.
He found that a valid agreement had been made in 2001 but concluded that both men - leading members of the Jewish community in Russia - had “released all claims against each other” in a 2011 “settlement agreement”.
After yesterday’s hearing, Mr Gaydamak said he aimed to appeal.