Rivlin Won't Decide on Clemency for Israeli Ex-tycoon Until Complaint Against Him Reviewed

Nochi Dankner, the former controlling owner of the IDB Holding Corp. who was convicted in July 2016 of stock manipulation, was transferred to a secure facility after another prisoner filed a complaint against him

Jonathan Lis
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Nochi Dankner arrives at Maasiyahu Prison to begin serving his sentence, 2018.
Nochi Dankner arrives at Maasiyahu Prison to begin serving his sentence, 2018. Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Jonathan Lis

President Reuven Rivlin won’t decide on Nochi Dankner’s request for a pardon until the enforcement authorities conclude their handling of his case, the president said in a statement issued by his office.

The businessman, who is serving a sentence for insider trading in Maasiyahu Prison, was transferred last week to a secure facility after another prisoner filed a complaint against him. The secure wing is for prisoners who are in danger, and is monitored by cameras.

The fraud investigations unit of the Central Police District, which is in charge of the investigation, informed the legal authorities in the President’s Residence, which is handling the request for a pardon submitted by Dankner a few weeks ago. Dankner denies the suspicions against him. The report of his transfer was first publicized on TV’s Channel 12 News.

Dankner, the former controlling owner of the IDB Holding Corp., was convicted in July 2016 of insider trading. Tel Aviv District Court Judge Khaled Kabub sentenced him to two years in prison. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction on appeal, and extended Dankner’s sentence to three years. He began serving his sentence in October 2018.

The affair centered around the share offering in February 2012 by IDB, at the time Israel’s most important holding company. The move was dubbed “the friends’ offering,” because many of Dankner’s wealthy friends participated in it. On the eve of the issue, Itay Strum of the Swiss-Israeli brokerage firm ISP Financial purchased massive amounts of the company’s shares on the stock exchange, with the aim of pushing up the share price and the volume of trade.

This was at a time when Dankner was helping him to receive credit to the tune of millions of shekels from the First International Bank in order to finance the continued flow of demand for the stock, and even mobilized a series of businessmen who purchased Strum’s holdings from him, outside the stock exchange. This step enabled Strum to use the money in order to continue creating additional demand for the share on the exchange.

The false representation of buyer interest in the IDB shares guaranteed the success of the issue, in which about 320 million shekels ($92 million) were raised, money that was a breath of fresh air for the company and for Dankner, at a time of difficulties with the flow. Despite the temporary success, in the end the company failed due to its debts, and on the backdrop of a 2013 debt arrangement, Dankner lost control of the company. In June 2014 an indictment was served against Dankner, after he was investigated by the Israel Securities Authority, in a probe that lasted for about a year and a half.

Dankner’s attorney, Shani Ilouz, refused to respond to Haaretz’s questions.

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