A son of Russian-Israeli businessman Lev Leviev may be declared bankrupt after ignoring requests to pay back some 700,000 shekels ($195,000) in debt, and the court-appointed trustee overseeing his assets is seeking to sell his 10.5 million-shekel home.
Lev Leviev bought the home in upscale Tel Aviv suburb Savyon from Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes in 2015 for his son Shalom Leviev.
Shalom Leviev, 40, is one of the businessman’s seven children. Bank Leumi filed a suit against the son and his wife at the end of 2017 alleging 130,000 shekels in unpaid debt. The son never filed a defense, so the court ruled in the bank’s favor, ordering the couple to pay back the debt plus 15% annual interest.
That payment was never made, so the court warned Shalom Leviev that he would be declared bankrupt. In November 2018, Judge Irit Weinberg-Nutovitz granted the bank permission to seize his assets, and appointed attorney Eran Kaufman as manager of his assets. She also ruled that Leviev would pay 500 shekels a month to his creditors.
Kaufman submitted a report in late May, compiled with the help of a private investigator, stating that the younger Leviev was facing four creditors, including Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim. Aside from his rights to the Savyon home, which sits on a 2,000-square meter plot, Shalom Leviev also has rights to a home in the Tel Aviv suburb Givat Shmuel and owns a 2014 Mercedes.
He hasn’t been cooperating with Kaufman, and thus the report states that his professional field and income are unknown, and it’s not clear whether he’s in financial trouble. He also hasn’t tried to defend himself in court or sent a lawyer to represent him. He hasn’t met Kaufman as part of the latter’s investigation, and isn’t paying the court-ordered 500 shekels a month.
During a court hearing held on the matter in early June, a representative of Bank Leumi said they hoped Lev Leviev would step in once he realized that the home he bought for his son was about to be sold off. The home is currently undergoing renovation and is unoccupied.
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Judge Isca Rotenberg said she was concerned that Shalom Leviev may not be aware of the proceedings, as he doesn’t live at the home where notices have been sent. She said she didn’t want to declare him bankrupt until notices were sent to other addresses, including Lev Leviev’s home in Savyon, where the son is thought to be living at the moment. She noted that the case is problematic as the value of the assets under lien is far higher than the debt itself.
Lev Leviev has been in Russia ever since the police revealed that he was a suspect in a massive diamond smuggling operation. Leviev and other senior executives at his company LLD are suspected of smuggling 300 million shekels worth of diamonds into Israel between 2008 and 2018, allegedly to skirt Russian export regulations.