Clearing Online Porn and Gambling: 16 ex-Israel Credit Cards Execs to Pay $4.5m

The affair goes back to the years 2006 to 2009, when Cal and a handful executives allegedly defrauded MasterCard and Visa by fraudulently offering credit card clearance services to illicit businesses

File photo: Credit cards.
Bloomberg

A group of 16 former executives and board members of Israel Credit Cards, or Cal, will pay 16 million shekels ($4.5 million) to settle a lawsuit filed against them for their role in enabling Cal to clear credit card payments to online gambling and pornography businesses.

The settlement was approved this week by Tel Aviv District Court Judge Magen Altuvia. A parallel criminal suit is still in progress.

The affair goes back to the years 2006 to 2009, when Cal and a handful executives led by then-CEO Boaz Chechik and former vice president Steve Greenspan allegedly defrauded international credit card issuers MasterCard and Visa by fraudulently offering credit card clearance services to illicit businesses.

Investigators asserted that the business became so big that in 2008 the company formed a new unit, Cal International, to handle it.

The criminal case against Cal, a 72%-owned unit of Israel Discount Bank, was settled in November 2016 after the State Prosecutor and Cal agreed that the profits from the illicit business amounted to 85 million shekels.

Under a settlement, the company , which issues Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club cards in Israel, agreed to pay as a penalty all the profits it had accrued from the illicit business in exchange for the indictment being dropped. The criminal case against Chechik and Greenspan is still under way.

The settlement with the state prompted Cal to seek a similar one with Discount shareholders, who had filed a lawsuit against it. The prosecutor’s office approved the settlement before any hearings were held.

Under the settlement’s terms, Discount will get the 16 million shekels minus 2 million for the attorneys who filed the suit and 260,000 shekels for the plaintiffs.