Itay Strum, an owner of a small brokerage, ISP Financial Services Ltd., is the "other individual" in the securities fraud allegedly committed by IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. (TASE:IDBH) chairman Nochi Dankner. According to the Israel Securities Authority, Dankner used Strum to buy IDB shares during an offering in February 2012, and then paid Strum NIS 8 million.
ISP Financial Services, founded in 1993, has offices in Zurich and Herzliya. It represents in Israel trust funds of Swiss bank Pictet & Cie., one of Europe's largest private banks with $400 billion in assets under management. The firm also sold Bank Hapoalim's (TASE: POLI) mortgage backed securities (MBS) portfolio in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, and reportedly made $2 million in fees.
Strum's attorney said in response, "Strum is fully cooperating with the investigation in order to clear the suspicions against him. These were legitimate and purposeful transactions made with the firm's nostro money, not with its client's money, as an integral part of the firm and in compliance with the law. Strum is convinced of his innocence, and we believe that it will be show that there are no grounds for the suspicions against him, and that he has committed no crime."
The third party in the case, Adi Sheleg, owns and is CEO of City Brokers Ltd., a financial services firm. He also established and managed for several years until recently, SIP Financial Trading Ltd., which is apparently affiliated with Strum's ISP Financial Services. Both firms list the same address in Herzliya, and Strum is a director in Sheleg's company.
Sheleg's lawyer said, "There are only very preliminary suspicions. We are sure that the cloud will lift at the end of the investigation, and we will continue to fully cooperate with the Securities Authority."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 28, 2012
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