Israeli Court Orders Developer Inbal Or's Property Businesses Into Liquidation

Judge dismisses the celebrity real estate developer's efforts to recruit investors and says Knesset should act to prevent abuse of investors in future.

Real estate developer Inbal Or at the Tel Aviv District Court, March 23, 2016.
Ofer Vaknin

Inbal Or, the once high-flying promoter of real estate purchasing groups, saw her bid to keep her businesses alive rejected on Monday after the Tel Aviv District Court appointed a receiver for the group.

The 56-page decision by Judge Eitan Orenstein concluded that the developer's Or City real estate group was insolvent. “None of Or’s creditors oppose a [debt] arrangement and all attempts by her to find an investor have failed,” he concluded.

Orenstein said Or’s attempts to recruit an investors continued even as he was writing his final decision, when she presented the court with a cashier's check for 6,154,200 shekels ($1.6 million) intended as a show of good faith by the prospective investors.

“It later became clear from the bank that we were dealing with a check that had been canceled the same day it was presented to the court, and that Or claimed not to know that it had been canceled. In any case, the investor’s proposal was based on the Jabotinsky project, to which Or no longer has any rights,” he said.

Orenstein named attorney Eitan Erez as special manager, put Or's personal assets into receivership and barred her from leaving the country. He rejected a 14-day delay requested by Or’s attorney, Uriel Zaiya, to appeal the decision.

The judge hinted that the Knesset should take up the issue of real estate purchasing groups, which finance residential real estate projects by collecting money from the people buying homes in them. He said the law didn’t offer adequate protections for buyers.

“Money for projects should be deposited in a trust that has a mechanism for ensuring that the monies are only used for the purposes for the project [for which they were intended] and not for other purposes,” Orenstein recommended.

Or was arrested in February following a months’ long investigation by tax authorities on suspicions of using false invoices and concealing tens of millions of shekels worth of transactions from the tax authorities. In April, Orenstein appointed Erez as temporary receiver for the Or City group, and police said they were opening criminal investigation into allegations of fraud and theft of public funds.

After the decision was read out, Or insisted that she would “fight on to the end,” saying she was a victim of sexism. “If I’m a blond, is it harder to believe me? If I were someone else, would it be easier?”