Fishman: 'Losing $400m Was Tougher Than the Interrogation'

Channel 2 News reporter Keren Marciano interviewed Eliezer Fishman yesterday on the steps of the Israel Securities Authority building in Jerusalem. The interview was featured during the station's primetime newscast last night.

How are you? It's not every day that a businessman of your stature is interviewed.

"The State of Israel does not discriminate among people. I was questioned like anyone else, I don't take it as an insult. Questioning isn't the same as an indictment."

Can you tell us about the interrogation? Did you cooperate?

"I won't help you there. There are rules. I was asked not to speak, therefore I won't speak."

Were you asked to return for additional questioning?

"I was not asked to return for additional questioning."

It's not easy for a man of your status to be in the interrogation room.

"Who said it's not easy? It's very easy. I don't see the problem."

Still, I imagine that you'd rather be sitting in your office than with the investigators.

"Let me surprise you. It doesn't matter, if you have to then you have to."

Do you think you behaved correctly? Are you at peace with your actions?

"And how. You see me smiling. Did I come out looking ashamed? According to the radio, I've been in interrogation from this morning, but apparently that's not quite accurate."

How do you think this will end?

"I don't want to say; it'll be over when it's over."

Mr. Fishman, this is a serious financial blow, a great loss. How does one recover from such a loss?

"You don't recover. Who said you have to recover? So my bag of sunflower seeds is smaller; I still have a lot left."

In retrospect, do you regret gambling on the Turkish lira?

"What gamble? Did you mean 'investment,' perhaps? What is the word 'gamble' doing here? It's not a gamble, it's an investment. The investment was right, the alayhum [incitement] was superfluous. That's what caused the damage, the alayhum, not the investment."

At the Securities Authority they're saying you played with investors' money.

"That's not true either. I played with five million shekels and I lost $400 million. So maybe you can explain to me what the connection is? It's one million dollars, all in all. For the investors, five million shekels for Darban is peanuts."

Do you still stand behind your promise to return the money to the investors? Because meanwhile the money hasn't been returned.

"There's no question."

What do you have to say to the investors in Darban and Alliance?

"That I behaved correctly, that's all."

Still, it's unimaginable to lose 400 million dollars.

"You didn't lose it, I lost it, and for me it is imaginable. Losing 400 million dollars is harder than this interrogation."