Hapoalim Customers Sue for NIS 5 Billion, Bank Cries Fraud

A giant NIS 5 billion law suit has been slapped on Bank Hapoalim by disgruntled customers who say the bank is withholding $1.3 billion of their money, and even refusing to provide information on the accounts in question. The claimants told the court in early March that they had opened two new accounts at Bank Hapoalim branches, and the money had been wired in a number of separate SWIFT transactions. Although by early 2007 the bank reported having received the money, the claimants say, Bank Hapoalim has since refused to provide any further information about the account.

Bank Hapoalim says that an internal investigation of the matter with SWIFT had revealed that the documents confirming transfer of the funds had been forged, and that no money had in fact been received by the bank. Bank Hapoalim has filed a police complaint against the claimants for suspected fraud and forgery.