Nochi Dankner

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Nochi Dankner
Born (1954-11-13) November 13, 1954 (age 64)
NationalityIsraeli
Known forConvicted in Securities Fraud [1]
Net worthBankrupt

Nochi Dankner (Hebrew: נוחי דנקנר‎; born 13 November 1954) is an Israeli businessman. He was the controlling shareholder of the IDB Group.[2] Dankner is also the founder and chairman of the Ganden Group - which led him to personal bankruptcy of 400 Million NIS,[3] and a board member of the Jewish Agency for Israel.[4] In 2017 he was convicted of Securities Fraud for a scheme to inflate his company's stock price in order to raise money when it was struggling financially.[5]

Biography[edit]

Nochi Dankner was born in Tel Aviv. He is the son of Zahava and Yitzhak Dankner, one of six brothers who founded Dankner Investments. After military service in the Israel Air Force, Dankner studied political science and law at Tel Aviv University, where he edited the law review. After graduation, he began to work as a trainee lawyer at Yigal Arnon & Co law firm, which he left after several years to establish Dankner-Lusky law firm with advocate Moshe Lusky.[6]

Dankner founded Ganden Tourism and Aviation. It was the company which created Israir airline. It was later sold to IDB in controversial deal.

In 2011, Dankner sold the Israeli agrochemicals manufacturer Makhteshim Agan to China National Agrochemical Corporation, a subsidiary of China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina).[7] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the deal as "a big achievement for the economy of Israel."[8] That year he was ranked eleventh in Forbes Magazine’s list of wealthy Israelis.[9]

Through an IDB Holding Dankner controlled various companies such as Cellcom, Super-sol, Netvision, Hadera Paper and Nesher Cement. He also had subsecquent shares in Clal Insurance and Bank Hapoalim[10][11][12][13] Total worth of companies, controlled by Nochi Dankner was about 400 billion NIS.

Trial and conviction[edit]

Fraud[edit]

After some bad business deals made by Dankner, including investment in failed Las Vegas hotel and residential project, collapsed Maariv newspaper deal, IDB, which was a public company at the time sustained millions of dollars losses. Dankner tried to save the control of the company and hired Itay Strum, broker Adi Sheleg and some others to buy and sell IDB stock, causing inflation of prices during public offering in February 2012. The intention was to raise capital for the company. Itay Sturm received eight million shekels from Nochi Dankner in order to buy and sell. Strum and his colleagues bought stock at higher prices, while they knew it was worth much less in order to manipulate traders to buy IDB stock at inflated prices. This raises the stock’s price beyond its real one, which is illegal stock manipulation by law.

Dankner was charged with securities fraud and market manipulation. His trial took place in the Tel Aviv District Court before Judge Khaled Kabub. During the trial Dankner received dozens of letters and various documents in his support. Those documents were admitted at the trial as evidence of his good character. The documents came from different organisations, including the World Jewish Congress and Bar-Ilan University. Individual letters were received from top officers in the IDF, politicians and rabbis.[14]

Dankner was convicted in July 2016. On 6 December 2016, he was sentenced to two years in prison, as well as 800000 NIS fine. In addition Dankner received a suspended sentence of an additional year. Prosecutors had asked for a three- to five-year prison sentence. Judge Khabub's formula of sentencing was: “deemed it appropriate to punish the accused within the lower levels of the appropriate punishment due to the personalities of the accused, their extraordinary philanthropic work and the damages and losses they inflicted on themselves by getting embroiled in this scheme.”

His accomplice Itay Strum was also convicted and sentenced to a one-year prison term and a 500000 NIS fine. IDB Holdings and Strum’s ISP Trading Group were fined 250000 NIS and 150000 NIS.

Dankner appealed the conviction to the Israeli Supreme Court. On 29 August 2018, the Supreme Court rejected his appeal and increased his sentence to three years in prison. It also doubled Itay Strum's sentence to two years in prison. The Supreme Court ruled that he would begin serving his sentence on 2 October 2018.[15] On 2 October, he arrived at Maasiyahu Prison to begun serving his sentence.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-04/israeli-businessman-nochi-dankner-convicted-of-securities-fraud
  2. ^ Nochi Dankner's power play
  3. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/dankner-gave-banks-personal-guarantee-on-loans-to-tomahawk-ganden.premium-1.516805
  4. ^ Mr. Nochi Dankner, Jewish Agency for Israel
  5. ^ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-04/israeli-businessman-nochi-dankner-convicted-of-securities-fraud
  6. ^ http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-dankner-loses-it-all-1001165072
  7. ^ The agrochemicals manufacturer Makhteshim Agan Industries Ltd sold to ChemChina
  8. ^ Ackerman, Gwen (17 October 2011). "Netanyahu Congratulates IDB's Dankner on Makhteshim Deal Close". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  9. ^ Struggling billionaire could drag Israel down with him
  10. ^ Israel's alpha tycoon, Haaretz
  11. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/1.564045
  12. ^ http://www.law360.com/articles/633991/israeli-bank-s-90m-ch-11-lien-survives-creditor-attack
  13. ^ http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Fallen-Israeli-business-magnate-Dankner-gets-two-year-jail-sentence-474470
  14. ^ http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Fallen-Israeli-business-magnate-Dankner-gets-two-year-jail-sentence-474470
  15. ^ https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5337304,00.html
  16. ^ https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-nochi-dankner-enters-jail-1001254718