Who owns Africa Israel? The banks do, they claim.
Banks Leumi, Discount and Mizrahi Tefahot stated as much in their response to Africa Israel's request that they approve its debt arrangement with its bondholders.
The three big banks told the court that 29% of the floundering real estate company's shares, which are attached to bank debt, should be considered theirs, and not controlling shareholder Lev Leviev's.
Leviev has about NIS 1 billion in bank debt through his private company Memorand. Africa Israel owes NIS 8 billion, of which NIS 0.5 billion is to the banks..
The banks argue that Africa Israel's attempt to use the attached shares to settle the company's issues with its bondholders constitutes good cause to call in the debts immediately - meaning, have a receiver appointed, along with other steps to protect their loans.
The banks reportedly sent representatives of Africa's bondholders a compromise offer regarding their arrangement with Leviev. Sources said the bondholders rejected that proposal outright.
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