Armando Pereira didn’t want family exposure, but daughter turned out to be one of the “queens of dance” in the US and bought floor for 70 million

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Married to Gaëlle Pereira, Yossi Benchetrit has worked in several geographies of Altice. He has now been suspended. Who is the couple who bought an apartment in New York for 70 million?

On New York’s so-called billionaires’ row, a skyscraper that is taller than One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building (if you don’t take antennas into account) is the largest residential building in the United States and the third largest in the world. Number 432 Park Avenue was completed in 2015, but it already had interested parties and even buyers. There are 104 homes and the first sale, in 2016, reached 18 million dollars. But the record was yet to be broken. And not even the accusations of alleged structural problems (with complaints from residents of noise, flooding and malfunctioning elevators) that reached court deterred this buyer from paying $70 million in 2022 for one of the apartments.

Armando Pereira didn't want family exposure, but daughter turned out to be one of the "queens of dance" in the US and bought floor for 70 million

743 square meters on the 82nd floor, with five bedrooms, a multimedia room, and two staff suites on lower floors, had been put up for sale for $66.47 million since 2016, rising to $79 million in April 2021. It was sold a year later to a couple who already owned an apartment in the condo, according to the WallStreetJournal, which identified the buyers as Yossi Benchetrit and his wife Gaëlle Pereira Benchetrit.

Yossi was identified as purchasing director of Altice USA. Gaëlle as founder and owner of the Clinique des Champs Elysée News York aesthetic clinic, which opened in 2020.

Gaëlle is Armando Pereira’s daughter. Yossi the son-in-law, who was this week suspended from his duties at Altice USA, as reported by Observador.

Who is Gaëlle?

Near the building where she and her husband bought the luxury floor, Gaëlle Pereira Benchetrit has opened the first Clinique des Champs Elysée in the United States. She calls herself a Parisian entrepreneur. Gaëlle moved to New York six years ago when Yossi took over as head of procurement for Altice USA, with responsibility for strategy, management and procurement of goods and services, including real estate. In the various commercial registers, from different countries, Gaëlle appears as a shareholder of the Maltese Sharon Realty and the French Red Beyond (with her mother Odile Fetet, maiden name, now Odile Pereira).

And in an article in Life Magazine, she splits her time between Paris and New York, but with summer upon us, it won’t be strange to see her strolling the beaches of Marbella.

Little is known about the Benchetrit couple. Gaëlle will be Armando Pereira’s only daughter and, according to Visão in 2015, will have a degree in cinema. In that same profile of Armando Pereira, Visão wrote about the “hero of Vieira do Minho” (as Pires de Lima, then Minister of Economy, called him in 2015, when Altice bought PT) who was a “fierce defender of the privacy of his own, an enemy of cameras” and who “‘taught’ the family to live as discreetly as possible”, even quoting a friend, under anonymity, who said that “family photographs are shielded, as well as information about his wife, daughter and grandchildren”.

But it was precisely her daughter who opened the door to the cameras. Gaëlle Pereira Benchetrit took part this year in a Bravo television dance show called Dancing Queens. And although she is one of the contestants, there are few videos in which she talks about herself and in none does she expose her family, unlike the other contestants. Only in one of the videos does she assume she is married (not identifying her husband) and says she has three children. Her age is never mentioned (she competed in the category between 36 and 50 years old), but some articles that were published around that time put her in her 40s.

Nevertheless, she explains in one of these videos that ballroom dancing came into her life when she arrived in New York and had time on her hands, as her children were at school and she had nothing to do, as well as saying that she did not know anyone in the city that never sleeps (she had not yet launched the clinic), and that it is now a “real passion” and assures her: “It changed my life”. Despite this statement, the information about the contestants says that Gaëlle was already on the ballroom dancing circuit, an activity she had to stop when she became pregnant. Now she says she practices a lot, about three hours a day.

Each competing couple must have a professional and a student, and therefore amateur. According to the rules, the amateur dancer cannot receive any payment but has to pay the professional to make the partnership. Gaëlle chose one of the best professionals in this field, the other contestants said. Her partner was Nino Langella, an Italian who has been dancing since he was a kid, winning a competition for the first time at the age of 9. It is not known how much he was paid to enter the competition with Armando Pereira’s daughter.

The competition ran through five Latin dances: cha cha cha; samba; rumba; paso doble; and jive.

Armando Pereira didn't want family exposure, but daughter turned out to be one of the "queens of dance" in the US and bought floor for 70 million Armando Pereira didn't want family exposure, but daughter turned out to be one of the "queens of dance" in the US and bought floor for 70 million

The cameras went off during this contest in which you can understand an accented English. Gaëlle was born in France where she met her husband. Armando Pereira had emigrated early, at the age of 14, to Paris and met his wife, Odile, in Nancy. It was there that he began his fortune, setting up a company, Segetrel, which he sold to ABN Amron in the 1990s for around €40 million.

Gaëlle married Yossi, but there are few pictures of them together on the internet. Still, on their way to the US high street, there is a record of their presence at a fundraising dinner for the Citymeals on Wheels association, a meeting that secured 980,000 dollars for the organization. At the dinner, Yossi and Gaëlle are photographed at a table with Lisa Rosenblum, who is a former vice-president of Altice USA and is linked to the association.

In the open public information there is also a record of the house being at the White House in September 2022, at an event where Elton John performed and was eventually graced by Joe Biden.

Who is Yossi?

Yossi Benchetrit is Armando Pereira’s son-in-law. He is the Chief Procurement Officer of Altice USA and has been suspended from his duties as part of the ongoing investigations that began in Portugal.

According to Público, the Public Prosecutor’s Office believes that the case has ramifications in other markets where Altice is present, such as the United States, with records of an Altice USA supplier, Excell Communications, which will be held precisely by Yossi Benchetrit. In the consultations made by the Observer, he appears as a director of this company, based in the state of Alabama. Abel Barbosa also appears, in the commercial records, associated with Smartdev, one of the companies that will be linked to Hernâni Vaz Antunes and that acquired real estate from Altice.

A web of companies doing business with Altice is under investigation

Also at Excell Communications will be, as manager, Duarte Loureiro, brother of Álvaro Gil Loureiro, one of the defendants who is in detention awaiting possible coercive measures.

Prior to taking on procurement roles in the United States, Yossi had a similar remit at Altice NV, i.e. around the world. Europe was therefore also on his radar, particularly Portugal. Before Altice bought Portugal Telecom, he was already involved in the operations of the company founded by his father-in-law and Patrick Drahi in Portugal, which had the operators Cabovisão and Oni. He will have been on teams at Altice worldwide that were preparing the purchase of Orange Dominicana, SFR and Portugal Telecom.

He holds a degree in electronic engineering from the École Central de Lyon and a master’s degree in physics from the Université de Versailles Saint Quentin. Both Público and JN reported that some of the contracts and bank accounts that are in the judicial investigation in Portugal will be those of his father, David Benchetrit. Observador has been unable to confirm this information. The investigations lead to the business of Armando Pereira, allegedly in association with Hernâni Vaz Antunes, to several points of the globe. The United States is one of them. Here Alice USA is listed, falling under strict Wall Street rules. Altice USA has informed the SEC (the US capital markets regulator) of Alexandre Fonseca’s self-suspension. It did not reveal the departure of Yossi Benchetrit, which was, however, announced in a statement. An official SEC source did not comment to the Observer on “the existence or non-existence of a possible investigation” into Altice USA.

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