The ongoing fight between Club Hotel casino partners Moshe Boblil and Nissan Khakshouri just might be nearing its end. Khakshouri is in advanced negotiations to sell his 50 percent share in the Club Hotel group to U.S. businessman Leon Charney for $150 million. A letter of understanding was signed recently in New York, after months of contacts.
The Club Hotel group is one of the largest private companies in Israel. It owns 36 percent of the Casino Loutraki casino and hotel in Greece, along with three hotels in Israel - two in Eilat and one in Tiberias - as well as other real estate and business interests.
A major business dispute broke out two years ago between Khakshouri and Boblil, and Khakshouri took his partner to court claiming, among other things, that Boblil defrauded him, stole from the company and him and forged documents.
Khakshouri further claimed that Boblil stole his share of the business, and removed him from management of the firm.
Even though the dispute seemed to have been partially settled in a deal brokered by Rabbi Pinto of Ashdod, Khakshouri now insists the money he was supposed to be paid as part of the settlement - $8 million for past years and about $20 million more till the end of 2004 - have still not been paid.
Charney lives in New York and has real estate and investment banking interests estimated at $1 billion. He has been heavily involved in both U.S. and Israeli politics, including serving as an adviser to Jimmy Carter on the Camp David Accords.
He was also close to a number of Israeli prime ministers and was involved in prisoner releases and the immigration of Soviet Jews. He also traveled to Tunisia secretly in 1986 to speak to the PLO on behalf of the Israeli government.
Sources close to Club Hotel responded that for now the sale is only a rumor and does not seem to be serious - and certainly not yet at the offer stage; but if a proper offer is presented it will be considered carefully.
Boblil has an agreement approved by the court allowing him first rights of refusal, or the right to buy out his partner according to these sources.