Judge to Africa Israel: 'Bad Press' Is Irrelevant

Tel Aviv District Court Judge Varda Alshech sharply criticized Africa Israel yesterday for its complaints about the press it has received over its proposed bondholder arrangement.

In its request to convene a bondholders meeting in order to gain approval for its debt arrangement proposal, the beleaguered real estate company devoted three entire sections (34-36) to complaining about the media outcry.

The public dialogue has been overpowered by negative coverage in the press, which seems to have leapt at the opportunity to taunt and scold the company and its controlling shareholder, Lev Leviev, it said.

Judge Alshech was not impressed. "The relevance of sections 34-36 escapes me," she said. "Is this is an attempt to argue that the court has been, is or will be influenced by these press reports in its final judgment?" she said, rejecting the implication.

Alshech told representatives of investors in the company's B9 bond series that they have three days - until Sunday - to tell her whether they intend to be included in the general debt arrangement agreement.

The B9 series, which had the least amount of time left, was due to have been redeemed yesterday, but Africa failed to repay the principal, paying investors only interest.