HSBC cutting Israel, North Africa private banking team

HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland said on Thursday it was “dramatically” cutting its Israel and North Africa teams after a former employee was convicted of laundering money for Moroccan drug dealers. Sources close to the bank said the Mediterranean and Israel business, known as Medis, had managed up to $8 billion and had between 12 and 15 staff. “We have restructured the business dramatically. That will see the majority of clients leave,” HSBC spokesman Medard Schoenmaeckers said. A former HSBC banker, fired after an internal investigation last year, was convicted in January of laundering money through Swiss bank accounts for Moroccan drug smugglers. ‏(Reuters‏)

Fischer: Frenkel will be ‘different’ governor

In an interview on Army Radio on Thursday, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer urged listeners not to assume his designated successor, Jacob Frenkel, would manage monetary policy the same way he did during his first term in the 1990s. “I think Frenkel could be a different governor than in his previous term. He reads and is up to date with everything that is happening. He knows there was a social justice protest.” Fischer warned that there were no easy solutions to the problem of Israel’s high rate of poverty and cautioned against the danger of “populism” on the matter of material gas policy. “Interest groups are exerting pressure, but politicians need to make decisions for the good of the public,” he said. ‏(TheMarker Staff‏)

Planning committee approves demolition of Tel Aviv Dolphinarium site

The Tel Aviv district planning and building committee has approved a plan calling for the demolition of the Dolphinarium complex at the southern end of the Tel Aviv waterfront. The plan calls for the complex to be replaced by a boardwalk and open space. The committee also approved construction on nearby land on Hayarkon Street of a 28-story hotel and nine-story apartment building. The building complex will also include pedestrian access to the sea. A fifth of the new apartments at the complex will be no more than 75 meters in size. ‏(Arik Mirovsky‏)