Rabbis provide £2.6m bail money for accused businessman to attend Bar Mitzvah
EXCLUSIVE by Sanchez Manning A price tag of more than £2.6 million has been put on a Golders Green businessman's quest to attend his son's Bar Mitzvah. Zev Saltsman, 45, is accused of a £23 million fraud and has been allowed to leave the country while on
EXCLUSIVE by Sanchez Manning
A price tag of more than £2.6 million has been put on a Golders Green businessman's quest to attend his son's Bar Mitzvah.
Zev Saltsman, 45, is accused of a £23 million fraud and has been allowed to leave the country while on bail to attend the Jewish ceremony at the Wailing Wall.
But the one-week journey has come at a staggering price. Three friends have had to stump up £2 million security so he can go to Israel for the party.
The three rabbis will lose the cash if Mr Saltsman fails to return to face the criminal charges - and a £625,000 surety has already been paid for his previous bail after the initial charges.
The Golders Green businessman, who lives in a large detached house on Wykeham Road, was arrested on his way to Heathrow Airport last October.
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He faces extradition to the US where he is wanted for 'short selling' shares in two companies. If convicted, he faces 20 years behind bars.
At the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court this week, his barrister Hugo Keith said he should be allowed to go to the Bar Mitzvah on compassionate grounds.
Mr Keith is a top extradition lawyer who has been involved in a string of high profile cases including those of Abu Hamza and Russian exile Boris Berezovsky. He argued that Mr Saltsman's absence at the Jewish ceremony - due to be held at the famous Wailing Wall in Jerusalem - would cause "irreparable damage" to his son.
Gabriel Schleider, one of the three rabbis who has pledged to stump up the £2million security payment, also stressed the importance of his attendance. "He has studied with his son over the phone hour after hour, every week, preparing for the Bar Mitzvah," he said.
Comparing the coming-of-age celebration to a marriage, he added: "It would be like a bride without a groom if he didn't go and it could affect his son for the rest of his life."
But Mark Summers, prosecuting, argued there was every chance that the Jewish businessman could abscond. Mr Summers was also keen to remind the court that Mr Saltsman is alleged to have netted £23 million with his co-conspirators through short selling.
The two other orthodox rabbis who appeared in court were Israel Moskovitz and David Saurymper.
Mr Saltsman was first indicted with his business partner Menachem Eitan, 51, by the American government on October 19, 2007. They were charged with using offshore companies to buy shares from Xybernaut, a maker of portable computer hardware, and Ramp, another software producer, at a discounted price.
Mr Saltsman and Mr Eitan are then said to have sold both companies short, and repaid the shares using their discounted stock.
He was granted bail after a surety of £625,000 was paid on October 26, 2007.
District Judge Nicholas Evans has now ordered the three rabbis to pay another £2million by November 5, bringing the total to £2,625,000 for Mr Saltsman to make his one-week trip to Israel.
His next appearance at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court will be on November 17. Mr Saltsman broke down in tears when Judge Evans said: "I hope you enjoy your Bar Mitzvah and I look forward to seeing you on the 17th.