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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 14:56 GMT
From Russia with cash
By Mark Orlovac

Arcadi (L) and Alexandre Gaydamak
Arcadi and Alexandre are keen football followers
Portsmouth fans are daring to dream that Alexandre Gaydamak's takeover of the club could do for them what Roman Abramovich has done for Chelsea.

The 30-year-old businessman, the son of a Russian billionaire and apparently known to his friends as Sacha, is to become joint owner of the Premiership outfit alongside chairman Milan Mandaric.

And the Fratton Park faithful are already planning how manager Harry Redknapp will spend the 100m that will reportedly be made available for new signings.

But who is the man who has allegedly promised to make Portsmouth a Premiership giant?

Little is known about the younger Gaydamak, apart from the fact that he is based in London and has Russian and French citizenship.

However more is known about his father Arcadi, despite the 53-year-old being regarded as a media-shy tycoon.

Arcadi left Russia when he was 20 and after spending time in Israel, he moved to France where he built his fortune.

ARCADI GAYDAMAK FACTFILE
1952: Born in Moscow
1972: Emigrates to Israel, then France
1976: Opens translation bureau in Paris
1982: Gaydamak Translations opens Canada bureau
2000: International arrest warrent issued, denies any wrongdoing
2002: Returns to live in Moscow
2005: Buys Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem

After working as a gardener and bricklayer, Arcadi opened a translation bureau in Paris in 1976 which went on to become a highly successful trade-brokering company - allowing him to develop a host of French business contacts.

Although not in the same league as Abramovich, Arcadi still has an estimated fortune of up to 1bn.

However in 2000, he was the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by Paris magistrates investigating alleged arms-for-oil deal with Angola in the early 1990s.

He has denied any wrongdoing, saying he worked on behalf of the French and Angolan governments.

Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, the son of the late former French president Francois Mitterrand, was found guilty of tax evasion in relation to the scandal.

He currently lives in Moscow, where he has been since 2002, with a medium-sized bank and a brokerage company among his interests.

Last year he became proprietor of the Moskovskie Novosti newspaper while in September 2005 he bought Israeli top-flight side Beitar Jerusalem.

Milan Mandaric (L) and Harry Redknapp
Mandaric and Redknapp are hoping for better days at Portsmouth

According to his spokesman, Arcadi and Alexandre are "crazy" about football and Beitar recently beat Marseille for the signing of Lens midfielder Jerome Leroy.

Arcadi holds four passports, Russian, Israeli, Canadian and Angolan, and is reportedly driven around Moscow in a Bentley with Angolan diplomatic number plates.

Although he is noted as a contributor to various charities, including a $1m pledge to New York's fund for the victims and families of those affected by the 11 September terrorist attacks, scandal has continued to follow him.

Last year he was questioned by Israeli police in connection with allegations of money laundering but Arcadi denied any wrongdoing and was quickly released.

"I'm not behind any accounts which supposedly belong to offshore companies," he said.

As well as managing his business empire, Arcadi has also been elected to the Congress of Jewish Religious Communities and Organisations of Russia.

It is unclear how much son Alexandre is worth, or how much he is prepared to bring to the table, but for the time being at least, Redknapp's position looks safe.

THE FOREIGN LEGION
Overseas owners of British clubs
Chelsea: Roman Abramovich
Man Utd: Malcolm Glazer
Mohammed Al Fayed: Fulham
Milan Mandaric: Portsmouth
Sam Hammam: Cardiff

A Portsmouth statement said: "Harry will have the full backing of Mr Alexandre Gaydamak and will continue to enjoy the full support of Milan Mandaric."

And if the promises of vast amounts of transfer money come to fruition, Redknapp - the famous wheeler and dealer - could have more money at his disposal than he has ever had previously.

When Redknapp left Portsmouth in November 2004, Mandaric revealed that in the previous 30 months the manager had spent just 11.5m on transfer fees, loan fees and appearance payments for 25 players.

He may now be able to spend that sum at once and on just one player.

Some of Gaydamak's cash will also be earmarked for the development of Fratton Park and the contruction of a Chelsea-style 'Pompey village' with apartments, restaurants and shops.

And with Portsmouth struggling at the wrong end of the table, Pompey fans will be hoping the money will be able to keep them in the Premiership.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Sport's James Munro on plans for a takeover at Portsmouth


Interview: Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp



SEE ALSO
Redknapp pledges to spend wisely
03 Jan 06 |  Portsmouth


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