Israeli Property Firm Finds Fortune in German Basement

A foreign bank has engaged Ashtrom Properties in legal proceedings over treasure found in February by maintenance worker.

Israeli company Ashtrom Properties announced on Wednesday that a bundle of bearer bonds worth an estimated NIS 75 million was found in a building in Germany owned by a subsidiary company.

According to the property management company, on February 13 this year a maintenance worker employed at the building stumbled upon the securities, which were originally issued by a foreign bank. The securities are payable to whoever has them in their possession and the company contacted German legal authorities notifying them of the discovery.

Under German law, if no one claimed the securities within half a year they would become Ashtrom's property. A foreign bank that owned the building before Ashtrom laid claim to the securities last month but failed to provide sufficient proof of ownership of the property. The bank opened legal proceedings against Ashtrom on Thursday to recover the securities, while Ashtrom responded in an announcement to the stock exchange saying that its subsidiary would fight the claim in court. Wednesday's announcement was the first time Ashtrom reported on developments in the case.

Ashtrom is controlled by Israel's Nussbaum, Giron and Meshorer families, which own a majority of the company's shares.

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