Teddy Sagi, 49, an Israeli billionaire businessman who founded gaming software company Playtech and owns Camden Market in London, was saved at the last minute from an assassination plot in Cyprus just days ago after being warned about the attempt, Channel 12 news reported on Sunday.
According to the report, the billionaire was the target of an assassination plot in Cyprus due to debts he owes to Russian business partners. The report says a hitman of Azerji origin with a Russian passport was lying in wait for Sagi and other Israeli businessmen in Cyprus.
Sagi and his Israeli business associates escaped the country after receiving a last-minute warning from Cypriot security forces.
Cypriot security officials initially believed it was an attempted Iranian terrorist attack, but after further investigation, they ruled out that possibility and said it was an attack specifically planned against Sagi.
According to Ynet, the assassin was arrested in Cyprus days later, after he crossed the Agios Dhometios checkpoint in Nicosia from the Turkish-ruled northern part of the country.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett insisted that the foiled plot was, in fact, part of a much wider Iranian scheme to target Israelis residing in Cyprus.
“As opposed to some of the reports yesterday regarding an incident in Cyprus, I can clarify on behalf of the security establishment that this was an act of terror that was orchestrated by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus. This is not a criminal act and the Israeli businessman Teddy Sagi was not the target,” Bennett’s spokesman said on the prime minister’s official Twitter account.
According to the media in Cyprus, Nicosia’s government is treating the issue as a matter of national security. Local reports said that law enforcement agencies on the island began investigating the plot several weeks ago following what they called “intelligence from foreign entities.”
“The fact that the suspect was arraigned behind closed doors and that both the target of the hit and the assassin himself came from abroad raises questions about the origin of information the police got about the Azeri’s arrival in Cyprus,” said the Dialogos news site. “The information obtained by the Cyprus Police could have come from the security service of another country or from the wider circle of Israeli businessmen.”
Playtech plc is a gambling software development company. The gaming company provides software for online casinos, online poker rooms, online bingo games, online sports betting, scratch games, mobile gaming, live dealer games and fixed-odds arcade games online.
The company was founded by the businessman Teddy Sagi in 1999. The Israeli billionaire is the fourth richest person in Israel, worth $5.6 billion, according to Forbes.