More information about the supposed billion-dollar Life Keeper heart monitor patch saga rolled in yesterday, and it's looking more like the supposed $370 million sale is really just another fraud.
The Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem denied any connection to the patch or clinical trials for the device, contrary to the company's claims.
Moreover, the first public signs of a split within SafeSky's management appeared yesterday: Despite firm statements that the deal was for real, CEO Gavriel Picker started to hint that Hagai Hadas, a company director and former senior Mossad official, was responsible for the mess. Picker said he relied on Hadas' opinion when deciding to join the firm.
Picker also told confidantes for the first time yesterday that, public statements to the contrary, he was not completely sure either the deal or the product were for real. Picker has evidently worked for SafeSky for only a few weeks, and when he joined the company, he was told development of the patch was finished.
The rest of those involved are still remaining silent and trying to keep up a facade of business as usual.
Another denial came from Alper Aydin, who is listed on the product's Web site, www.lifekeeper2009.com, as the company's software engineer and the head of research and development at its Cyprus branch. Aydin says he is not an employee of SafeSky or its subsidiary Life Keeper, but rather a freelance programmer from Cyprus who designed the Java-based application for the cellular phone part of the monitoring device.
He told TheMarker he was not responsible for the patch, which he said he believes does not work yet. He said the software he developed was only a demo version until the patch was ready. Regarding the data presented in the demo, he said it was random numbers to demonstrate how the application would work.
Aydin said he received $3,000 for his work and is supposed to receive a few thousand shekels more. He estimated the entire development project cost $30,000.
He said he received his payment not from Life Keeper or SafeSky, but from the IRM dental clinic chain, owned by SafeSky chairman Dr. Amos Bouchnik.
And more information came out about Aharon (Arik) Klein, 44, the serial con man who supposedly developed the patch and the technology. He turns out to have debts of NIS 13.7 million and 70 open cases against him at the Bailiff's Office, all creditors seeking their money. He owes Bank Leumi more than NIS 1.6 million and Bank Hapoalim NIS 538,000, and he still owes his former lawyers for defending him. However, it seems he has no assets whatsoever, no car, no property - nothing in his name.
Judge Hayuta Kochan of the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court said in 2003 that Klein was a "serial fraud offender and dangerous, who has not learned his lesson, and has operated [criminally] systematically and for an extended period, despite the extended prison term he served and despite the suspended sentence hanging over him."
Klein was sentenced to 40 months in prison in 1997, and then 46 months in 2003, plus a 15-month suspended sentence. He was also ordered to pay his victims NIS 300,000. His usual con was convincing others to invest in his business ventures. He would present forged evidence of bank guarantees and letters from foreign companies as evidence of his business - and then would disappear with the funds. He often covered his debts with forged checks, set up shell companies and bank accounts and rolled debts between them.
It also seems that Klein, who was living outside of Israel for two years, from May 2006 to April 2008, left behind big debts and troubles in Cyprus, too. The brother of an Israeli who worked for Klein and SafeSky there told TheMarker that a business partner there is accusing him of pulling the same trick and leaving behind "scorched earth," bringing in investment partners and taking their money. It seems the police in Cyprus are also looking for Klein.
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