The banks in a consortium that financed businessman Gad Zeevi's purchase of 20 percent of Bezeq have foreclosed on $150 million bank guarantee by FIBI (Switzerland).
The money is to be distributed among members of the consortium after Zeevi last week failed to pay a $45 million interest payment. He took out a $700 million loan two years ago to buy the shares of the Israeli telecommunications company from Cable & Wireless.
There are suspicions that the bank guarantee itself was secured on collateral funds that Zeevi got from Michael Chernoy. The foreclosure on the guarantee is the first step by the banks to try to recover the loan, and they could well seize the Bezeq shares Zeevi bought, which were also collateral on the loan.
The banks will get portions of the bank guarantee pro-rated according to their slice of the outstanding loan - Bank Hapoalim and Leumi each gave 30 percent and will get $45 million; First International Bank of Israel $22.5 million (15 percent); Discount and Discount
Mercantile will get an aggregated $19.5 million (13 percent); United Mizrahi $15 million (10 percent); and Union Bank $3 million (2 percent).
The banks are continuing talks with Zeevi and his aides on repayment of the loan, but no formal decision has been made to allow Zeevi more time to get together the cash to meet his payments. However, in reality he has been given a chance to find sources of financing, before the banks exercise their right to seize the Bezeq shares.
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