Fallen Tycoons Nochi Dankner and Eliezer Fishman Strike Back

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Nochi Dankner leaves court after his sentencing on December 5, 2016.
Nochi Dankner leaves court after his sentencing on December 5, 2016.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

Two of Israel’s fallen tycoons struck back this week, with Nochi Dankner asking the Supreme Court to overturn his conviction for share-price manipulation and Eliezer Fishman accusing the special administrator overseeing his assets of violating the law.

In an appeal submitted to the Supreme Court Wednesday, Dankner’s lawyers claimed the conviction was based on circumstantial evidence that shouldn’t have led Tel Aviv District Court Judge Khaled Kabub to his ruling and a two-year sentence.

“The logical conclusion arising from the evidence is more consistent with a decision that there was nothing wrong with Dankner’s conduct and that he should be acquitted,” the petition said.

The appeal comes two months after Dankner was sentenced, together with partner Itay Strum, for acting to boost the price of shares in IDB Holding Corporation ahead of stock offering three years ago. IDB was at the apex of a holding group of which Danker later lost control as part of a bailout.

In his appeal, Danker argued that he was incapable of committing the offenses of which he was convicted. “A man who acts thoroughly would never have undertaken a project like this, unplanned and without financing,” the appeal said.

“Someone who is meticulous would not undertake a criminal enterprise over a period of days without any attempt to conceal his actions. An exacting personality wouldn’t rely on chance to recruit investors he needs in order to realize his plan and wouldn’t rely on luck that he would find a trader to perform the operation.”

Danker’s appeal comes as prosecutors are seeking to increase his sentence, from two years to between 36 and 60 months. They are asking that Strum’s sentence be increased from one year to between 30 and 54 months.

Meanwhile, Fishman accused Yossi Benkel, the special administrator appointed by the court two months ago to locate and manage his personal assets, of “populism” and “negligence.”

The proximate cause for the tycoon’s complaint, which was submitted to Judge Eitan Orenstein this week, was Benkel’s effort to seize two homes owned jointly by Fishman and his wife Tova, one in Givat Shmuel and one in Germany.

Fishman’s lawyers argued that a treaty with Germany prohibits the property’s seizure and said the move follows a series of overreaches by Benkel.

“This time it has gone too far, and it is time that the court clarifies to the special administrator, ostensibly an ‘officer of the court,’ that he must stop making specific and populist demands that are designed to appeal to the press,” the petition said.

Fishman, who owes an estimated 5 billion shekels ($1.3 billion), has a running feud with Benkel, who has issued highly critical reports of how Fishman and his family sought to shield assets from creditors and has won orders barring them from selling assets.

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