Bank Leumi Trying to Cash in on Loans to Eliezer Fishman

Loan-strapped businessman said to owe 4 billion shekels to banks.

The Bank Leumi logo on the front of the company's headquarters in Tel Aviv, November 9, 2010.
Bloomberg

Bank Leumi took another step toward cashing in on businessman Eliezer Fishman’s assets, but is likely to recoup only 600 to 800 million shekels for its efforts, out of the 2 billion shekels the embattled businessman owes.

Leumi asked the Tel Aviv District Court to let it activate liens on some of Fishman’s assets, and asked to appoint attorneys Eyal Rosovsky and Ronen Matry as trustees.

The bank started the process a month and a half ago, by selling shares of Jerusalem Economy Ltd. that Fishman had used as collateral on his loans.

Leumi currently is the only bank seeking to cash in its portion of the Fishman Group’s enormous loans. The corporation also owes money to Bank Hapoalim, Mizrahi-Tefahot, Discount and Igud.

The full extent of Fishman’s personal guarantees to the banks is unknown, but his companies are thought to owe some 4 billion shekels to banks.

As of a few years ago, Fishman was paying off hundreds of millions of shekels a year, primarily as interest on loans. But the businessman hasn’t been meeting his obligations over the past few years, Leumi claims.

Leumi says that Fishman Family Assets and TLC Financing and Management owe the bank 1.27 billion shekels, down from a total debt of 2 billion shekels as of the beginning of 2016, prior to the sale of the Jerusalem Economy Ltd. shares.

In its petition to the court Monday, Leumi asked to block Fishman Family Assets and TLC from taking any action regarding assets subject to the bank lien without express permission from the trustees.

It added that all attempts to come to an agreement with Fishman and his businesses that would enable the debt to be paid off had come to naught, and that the debtors had not been able to make an offer that was reasonable in light of the size of the debt.

If Leumi manages to cash in on all the assets it is seeking, it is likely to take in 350 million shekels, on top of the 200 million it already received after selling the Jerusalem Economy shares. The main assets the bank is seeking at the moment include shares of TLC and that company’s assets, shares in the company that controls real estate company Tnuport, a plot of land in Petah Tikva, another plot in Acre and rights to land in Azur.

The bank is not currently seeking to cash in on Fishman’s personal guarantee of 400 million shekels at this stage.