Just How Big Was Fishman's Gamble on the Turkish Lira?

Parted with 250 million euros - 10 percent of investment

Businessman Eliezer Fishman, as it emerged yesterday, bet on the Turkish lira against the Canadian dollar - and lost. But just how big was his gamble?

Apparently, huge - 2.5 billion euros (NIS 14.5 billion).

His loss on the bet amounted to some 10 percent, such that in total he parted with around 250 million euros. The equity Fishman presented to the banks for the purpose of building his position was 50 million euros; the banks, therefore, are now short another 200 million euros.

In keeping with a demand from the banks, Fishman was required over the past days to put up as collateral a number of private companies he owns, for the purpose of keeping his position open. In other words, the businessman is still holding on to a portion of the gamble at least, in the hope that the Turkish lira will bounce back.

"Fishman will use his own money to cover all the losses sustained by the public companies under his control as a result of the foreign currency deals," a spokesman for the businessman said yesterday.

And according to Fishman himself: "Throughout my business career, I have never abandoned wounded, both big and small, in the field - from private investors through the banks."