Billionaire Mashkevich quits Euro-Asian Jewish Congress presidency


(JTA) — Israeli-Kazakh billionaire Alexander Mashkevich has resigned as president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, a spokesman confirmed to JTA.

Mashkevich, whose fortune is tied to his stock in the Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., stepped down because of "the need to focus on his business questions," spokesman Roman Spektor said.

"EAJC continues to work normally," he added.

The Euro-Asian Jewish Congress is a subsidiary of the World Jewish Congress. Mashkevich had been the group’s head for 10 years.

The billionaire occasionally has drawn scrutiny for his outsized public statements and lavish expenditures. Last October, Mashkevich was said to be detained on a Turkish sex yacht, though he denied being arrested in the breakup of an alleged prostitution ring aboard the boat.

Spektor said the incident in Turkey is unrelated to Mashkevich’s resignation.

In April, he announced his intention to found a "Jewish Al Jazeera" during an address at the Keren Hayasod-United Israel Appeal conference in Washington, D.C. Some news reports have suggested that Mashkevich’s decision to resign is tied to his desire to focus his efforts on that endeavor.

A new president will be elected in September, Spektor said, following procedures in the EAJC’s by-laws.

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