Poju Zabludowicz

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Chaim "Poju" Zabludowicz is a London-based billionaire who has generously funded the Conservative Party in the UK and the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI).[1] Furthermore, most of the funding for the Conservatives is actually channelled via the CFI. Zabludowicz is also the Chairman and main funder of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM).

Zabludowicz's fortune derives from the Tamares Group which has large real estate interests and casinos, but originally from Soltam, the Israeli arms manufacturer set up by his father Shlomo Zabludowicz. NB: for some time Poju and Shlomo Zabludowicz were based in Finland.[1]

Contents

Arms dealing

Richard Perle controversy

While serving as US Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Policy in the early 1980s, Richard Perle recommended that the US consider mortars designed by Soltam rather than Royal Ordnance, a year after accepting a $50,000 consulting fee from Zabludowicz interests that was paid through one of the Tamares companies.[2]

The New York Times reported:

The Israeli arms dealers, Shlomo Zabludowicz and his son, Chaim Zabludowicz, became clients of Mr. Perle in 1980. They paid $90,000 to the Abington Corporation, a consulting company where Mr. Perle worked that was owned by John F. Lehman Jr., now the Secretary of the Navy.
It was not until January 1982, nine months after Mr. Perle says the Zabludowiczes stopped being his clients, that he settled his financial arrangements with Mr. Lehman and Abington and received a portion of the $90,000 fee from 1980. The $50,000 Mr. Perle received in March 1981 was in addition to his share of the Abington fee.[3]

In 1987, after leaving his job as US Assistant Secretary of Defense, Perle reportedly worked for Soltam.[4]

Melvyn R. Paisley controversy

In 1988, the FBI sought evidence in relation to another former Abington consultant, former navy official Melvyn R. Paisley and Zabludowicz-controlled company Pocal Industries:

The warrant offers only sketchy statements linking the companies to Mr. Paisley, a military industry consultant who was an Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1981 to April 1987. Associates say, however, that Mr. Paisley had a social relationship in the early 1980's with the principals of Pocal, a Scranton, Pa., company controlled by an Israeli weapons maker and his son. The warrant said the F.B.I. sought documents showing that Mr. Paisley worked for Pocal or helped it obtain Pentagon contracts from 1981 to 1988.[5]

Property and Real Estate

West Bank Property Interests

Peter Oborne's investigation into the UK Israel lobby uncovered the fact that Zabludowicz has a stake in a shopping centre in Ma’ale Adumim, which the journalist describes as:

a settlement which is seen as strategically crucial in ensuring Jerusalem remains in Israeli hands. So much so that Netanyahu launched his election campaign in the settlement in 2005. “Starting my campaign here is not coincidental [it is] because Jerusalem is in danger.”[6]

Ma'ale Adumim lies on a hill east of Jerusalem and is considered to be an illegal settlement under international law [7].

Political connections

David Cameron Donations

Poju Zabludowicz has donated funds to David Cameron through his firm Tamares Real Estate Investments[8]. Peter Oborne described the development of their relationship:

In September 2005 when Cameron was planning his Conservative leadership election campaign he met Zabludowicz for a coffee. Zabludowicz was suitably impressed with what he heard, and Cameron received £15,000 from Zabludowicz over the course of his election campaign. To ensure that the donations complied with election law, he made the donations through his British subsidiary Tamares Real Estate Investments[9].

The Guardian reported in June 2006 that Zabludowicz "backs Washington neocon Richard Perle's Center for Security Policy, and Israel lobby group BICOM. He owns 40% of downtown Las Vegas, including casinos. He gave £15,000 to Cameron and another £25,000 to the Conservative party.[10]

Sponsoring Israel Herzliya Conference 2008

In 2008, the Tamares Group sponsored the 8th Herzliya Conference in Israel.[11]

BICOM - Finances

BICOM reportedly had a budget of £1.2 million in 2006 – well over twice its budget three years earlier.[12] In July 2007, following private discussions with Gerald Ronson, the key donor behind the Community Security Trust, Zabludowicz announced that he would underwrite a £300,000 BICOM ‘fighting fund’ in response to the UCU’s boycott motion.[13]

Zabludowicz’s total donations to BICOM then increased almost threefold, from £341,694 in 2006, to £937,995 in 2007.[14] That December he announced that he would double his donation to BICOM in 2008 to £1 million, adding that: ‘my donations must be followed by other likeminded individuals’.[15] This statement however does not seem to match the reported figures in BICOM’s accounts, since Zabludowicz had already donated just under £1 million in 2007 and in 2008 his donations in fact decreased overall to £837,616,[16] decreasing further in 2009 to £780,247.[17]

BICOM’s budget increased again in 2009 and 2010. At a meeting held on 8 July 2009, its board agreed that it would require a 12.5 per cent increase in spending that year and a 25 per cent increase in 2010 – increasing its total expenditure to around £2million. Its then director, Lorna Fitzsimons said: ‘Our detractors will use the political and trade union conferences in September to their advantage and we must uplift our activities to meet this need.’[18] Though the value of Zabludowicz’s donations since that time have not been disclosed, BICOM’s 2010 accounts confirmed that it remained dependent on him for monthly financial support.[19]

Jewish Chronicle Power 100

In 2008, Zabludowicz was listed at number 30 in the Jewish Chronicle Power 100.[20]

The article described Zabludowicz as:

'A “quiet power” in key organisations, particularly Bicom, the London-based Finnish billionaire is a recent addition to the Jewish Leadership Council. A major property player, Mr Zabludowicz, 56, is said to own 40 per cent of downtown Las Vegas including half-a-dozen casinos. His wife Anita is a prominent art collector'[21].

Affiliations, Contact, References and Resources

Affiliations

Contact

Publications

Resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Marie Woolf and Jon Ungoed-Thomas, Vegas casino billionaire bankrolls the Tories, Times Online, 30 December 2007.
  2. Jeff Gerth, AIDE URGED PENTAGON TO CONSIDER WEAPONS MADE BY FORMER CLIENT, New York Times, 17 April 1983.
  3. Jeff Gerth, AIDE URGED PENTAGON TO CONSIDER WEAPONS MADE BY FORMER CLIENT, New York Times, 17 April 1983.
  4. Stephen Green, Serving Two Flags Neo-Cons, Israel and the Bush Administration, Counterpunch, issue of 28 February - 2 March 2004.
  5. Michael Wines, Arms Inquiry Adds 2 Israeli Concerns, New York Times, 11 July 1988.
  6. Peter Oborne & James Jones, Inside Britain's Israel Lobby, 13-November-2009, Accessed 03-January-2009
  7. BBC News, Israel's 'linchpin' settlement, BBC News, 12-November-2005, Accessed 03-January-2010
  8. David Cameron, Register of Members Interests, They Work For You, Accessed 03-January-2010
  9. Peter Oborne & James Jones, Inside Britain's Israel Lobby, 13-November-2009, Accessed 03-January-2009
  10. David Leigh, The donor list, guardian.co.uk, 2 June 2006.
  11. The Annual Herzliya Conference Series: on the Balance of Israel's National Security (2008) Conference Conclusions. Accessed 12th August 2008
  12. Bernard Josephs, ‘Boycott battle to cost £1m a year’, Jewish Chronicle, 20 July 2007, p.1.
  13. Bernard Josephs, ‘Boycott battle to cost £1m a year’, Jewish Chronicle, 20 July 2007, p.1.
  14. BICOM Accounts made up to 31 December 2007, p.4.
  15. ‘BICOM gets £1m from its chair’, Jewish Chronicle, 14 December 2007, p.11.
  16. BICOM Accounts made up to 31 December 2008, p.4.
  17. BICOM Accounts made up to 31 December 2009, p.4.
  18. Robyn Rosen, ‘New strategy and £400K lift for BICOM’, Jewish Chronicle, 9 July 2010, p.9.
  19. BICOM Accounts made up to 31 December 2010, p.3.
  20. The Jewish Chronicle JC Power 100: Sacks stays on top, as new names emerge. 9th May 2008. Accessed 16th August 2008
  21. The Jewish Chronicle JC Power 100: Sacks stays on top, as new names emerge. 9th May 2008. Accessed 16th August 2008
  22. The Jewish Chronicle JC Power 100: Sacks stays on top, as new names emerge. 9th May 2008. Accessed 16th August 2008
  23. Poju Zabludowizc, Jewish Leadership Council, accessed 15 April 2013
  24. The Jewish Chronicle JC Power 100: Sacks stays on top, as new names emerge. 9th May 2008. Accessed 16th August 2008
  25. Poju Zabludowizc, Jewish Leadership Council, accessed 15 April 2013
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