Clubmarket Owners Offering Cash to Halt Investigation Into Collapse

Tami Mozes-Borovich, Yossi Rosen are holding talks with suppliers to reach an agreement in which they would pay the supermarket chain's creditors.

Clubmarket owners Tami Mozes-Borovich and Yossi Rosen are holding talks with the bankrupt supermarket chain's suppliers to reach an agreement in which they would pay the creditors in exchange for halting the investigation against them and immunity from future lawsuits, Haaretz has learned.

They have met with attorney Giora Rubanenko, who is representing a group of small and mid-sized suppliers, as well as some of the major players.

Rosen, the chain's chair prior to its collapse, refused to comment on the report. Likewise, neither Mozes-Borovich nor Rubanenko could not be reached for comment.

The Clubmarket owners had expressed readiness in the past to transfer a substantial sum to creditors' coffers, but news reports about the investigation against them, which the creditors instigated, brought contacts on the matter with trustees Shlomo Nass and Gabi Trabelsi to an end.

Nass said Tuesday that the owners' lawyers stated it was not likely that the owners would pay off the creditors so long as they were being tormented by investigations.

Market sources believe the Mozes-Borovich-Rosen group is prepared to transfer between NIS 10 million and NIS 11 million to the creditors fund.

Still, company lawyers did not stipulate any sum, it seems.

Senior sources say suppliers would be prepared to drop the investigation for a more substantial sum, such as NIS 20 million or more.

The request to investigate the reasons for the chain's collapse, they say, stemmed from the desire to force Clubmarket owners to pay debts out of their own pockets. Thus, they see no reason for suppliers to fund the investigation if owners are prepared to pony up. Some market sources claim that the fact that Clubmarket owners are tying the investigation to transfering the owners' contribution to the arrangement raise questions about the purity of their intentions.

The sources are divided on the question of the value of the investigation. Some say that findings from the fall of the Mashbir Lazarchan department store chain, which forced its then-owners, the Co-op Cooperative Society, to transfer NIS 56 million to creditors, bear witness that Clubmarket owners also didn't act properly.

Others claim that there is no evidence that Clubmarket owners continued to operate the chain even after they knew that it had ceased to be productive, as investigators into the Mashbir collapse claimed.

The creditors, which include suppliers, members of the Israel Manufactures Association and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, demanded to introduce into the creditors arrangement a clarification that the right to file personal suits against Clubmarket owners and board members would not be canceled.