Israel Mistakenly Sends Files on Nevzlin

bloombergLeonid Nevzlin in Israel in 2005. An aide said his financial records were sent to Russia's money-laundering watchdog.
Israeli officials mistakenly sent confidential files about fugitive former Yukos co-owner Leonid Nevzlin to the Russian anti-money laundering watchdog, an aide to the businessman said Thursday.

The files provide full records of Nevzlin's business assets and his personal information, his aide Eric Wolf said by telephone from Tel Aviv. Moscow also received similar data on two other former Yukos co-owners, Mikhail Brudno and Vladimir Dubov, he said.

The trio submitted the records to Israeli authorities before last February's tender for the Haifa Refinery, Wolf said. They became its minority shareholders in that tender. Nevzlin is wanted in Russia on fraud and murder charges, which he denies. He left the country in 2003.

Wolf likened the officials' mistake to passing sensitive security records to the Islamic militant group Hezbollah. "It's a catastrophic mistake," Wolf said. "It's unthinkable, simply unthinkable."

Russian authorities could use the information to do him harm, Wolf said. "They know all we do. They could try to seize our assets, thwart a deal or do whatever they wish," he said.

The businessmen submitted their complete personal and business profiles to Israel's Government Companies Authority, which later forwarded them to the country's Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority, Wolf said. That agency was due to pass the records on to the General Security Service, but they went to Moscow instead, he said.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Financial Monitoring Service declined to confirm or deny receipt of the files. "The transfer of any secret materials is a secret in itself," she said. "That is why I cannot comment."