Oozi Cats, the CEO and founder of Telit, resigned after the London-listed technology company confirmed on Monday he had been indicted for an alleged mortgage fraud in the United States more than 25 years ago.
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Telit, whose products and services connect devices to apps and enterprise systems, said in a statement that Oozi Cats’ involvement in an alleged “land flip” scheme that bought and sold properties at inflated prices had been “knowingly withheld” from the board.
An arrest warrant for Cats was issued under an alternative spelling of his name, Uzi Katz, but he was never detained, according to Boston federal court documents seen by Reuters.
”It is a source of considerable anger to the board that the historical indictment against Oozi Cats was never disclosed to them or previous members of the board and that they have only been made aware of its existence through third parties,” Telit said.
Journalist Tom Winnifirth of British trading website, Shareprophets reported last Tuesday that one Oozi Cats was indicted by a court in Boston in 1992 on counts of wire fraud, though under a different spelling of the same name.
According to Winnifirth, records from the district court of Boston, Massachusetts show that an individual named Uzi Katz was indicted on January 8, 1992 for wire fraud, and a warrant was put out for his arrest. The records also refer to the defendant as a “fugitive.”
That may not be the same person named in the court documents as Oozi Cats, but a Financial Times report on the issue said a person close to the company confirmed that the CEO sometimes spells his name as “Uzi Katz.”
Telit has seen its stock come under severe pressure this year, losing by two thirds of its value in just three-and-a-half months. In May Cats sold off more than seven million shares in the company for more than 24 million pounds.
The company, which makes products, platforms and services that it says enable devices to communicate wirelessly, got its start as an importer of cellphones before it changed direction to focus on machine-to-machine communications. It went public in London in 2005 but only came to investors’ attention in recent years as IoT became a hot technology.
Telit shares ended up 5.9 percent to 131 pence ($1.70) in London.
Omri Zerachovitz contributed to this report.