Disgraced Telecoms Tycoon to Seek Order Releasing Assets Seized by Police

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Shaul Elovitch in court, February 22, 2018.
Shaul Elovitch in court, February 22, 2018.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

After the police seized of all of the property owned by Bezeq telecom’s controlling shareholder Shaul Elovitch and his wife, Iris, the couple are expected to seek a court order releasing the assets. These include not only funds in their bank accounts, real estate and cars but also artwork from their home.

At a court hearing on a request to extend the detention of Elovitch, who has since been released to ten days of house arrest and barred from Bezeq’s offices for 45 days, his lawyer, Jacques Chen, said: “The investigators broke into his house, took pictures off the walls and took statues from the garden. They didn’t leave a thing.”

Elovitch is a central suspect in the investigation dubbed Case 4000, in which police suspect that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acted to provide Bezeq and Elovitch with financial breaks worth hundreds of millions of shekels in exchange for positive coverage on Bezeq’s popular Walla news website. The investigation against Elovitch and his wife began in 2017 as an Israel Securities Authority probe into Bezeq’s acquisition of the Yes satellite television service provider.

At the beginning of the week, lawyers for the Elovitches submitted an urgent request to the court to disclose the contents of the seizure orders, saying that police had only provided them with a list of the property that was seized but not documentation of what the court allowed to be taken.

In another development related to Bezeq, the firm Entropy, which represents more than 5% of Bezeq’s shareholders, has requested that Bezeq convene a special shareholder meeting, a move that the company has planned in any event. Entropy has submitted a list of six candidates that it is proposing in an effort to fill three new Bezeq board director slots. As a matter of principle, there is no opposition at Bezeq to expand the board but the company has been putting together its own list of candidates to fill the slots.