MK Hirchson Calls Banks to Task, While His Son Works Out Debt Deal

The Hirchson Barak company - owned by the son of Likud MK Abraham Hirchson, Ofer Hirchson, and Zvi Barak - has reached an arrangement with the banks for rescheduling its NIS 115 million debt, according to financial statements published yesterday. The company's deficit in working capital stands at NIS 54 million.

While his son was settling his affairs with the banks, MK Hirchson, who chairs the Knesset Finance Committee, said he would summon the nation's top bankers for an urgent discussion on the high salaries of bank executives and the huge profits reported by the banks earlier this week.

MK Hirchson said yesterday that the committee would discuss various issues, including competition in the banking system. He added that he would ask Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to submit legislation that would set maximum salaries in the public sector, including institutions owned by the state, like the banks.

According to the financial statements released by Hirchson Barak yesterday, the two principal owners - Ofer Hirchson and Zvi Barak - enjoyed annual salaries totaling NIS 2.4 million, a sum comprising more than 50 percent of the company's revenues.

The company reported a net loss of NIS 22 million on revenues of only NIS 4.7 million. In 2002, Hirchson Barak lost NIS 23 million.