Real Estate Developer Zisser May Lose His Dream Home to Foreclosure

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Troubled Israeli real estate developer Motti Zisser may be on the way to losing his Petah Tikvah dream home because of a court order sought by Bank Leumi, sources have told TheMarker.

The request for the order is against Zisser's privately owned Control Centers; to save on taxes, Zisser registered his house under that company’s name.

The home includes its own private synagogue, ritual bath, giant swimming pool, movie theater, bowling alley and video arcade. The house, which Zisser and his family moved into three years ago, took three years to build; according to bankers, it cost between NIS 45 million and NIS 55 million, making it one of the priciest homes in the country.

“As much as is known, the article isn’t correct,” a Control Centers spokesman said, declining further comment. Leumi said it does not give out information on clients.

Most of Zisser’s eight-dunam (two-acre) property is mortgaged to Leumi, to which he still owes nearly NIS 20 million. The bank sought the court order after Zisser missed payments. Any profits from a foreclosure beyond the debt owed to Leumi would go to Zisser’s other major creditor, Bank Hapoalim.

An eviction of Zisser would only deepen the low point of his long business career. He is likely to soon lose control over publicly traded Elbit Imaging due to unpaid debts totaling NIS 2.8 billion. Elbit Imaging, which specializes in real estate development in Eastern Europe and India, has suffered heavy losses as the value of its European properties tumbled.

Zisser's Europe-Israel Ltd. owes Hapoalim close to NIS 1 billion, secured by a 48% stake in Elbit Imaging; Zisser personally guaranteed the debt to Hapoalim. Leumi owned part of Europe-Israel's debt until 2007, when Zisser had to turn to Hapoalim.

Earlier this year, Hapoalim received court approval to place Zisser's Elbit Imaging shares into receivership, but the bank has not yet moved to liquidate the collateral.

Motti Zisser's house Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

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