The debt of businessman Eliezer Fishman, who was declared bankrupt last month, current stands at NIS 2.8 billion, compared with NIS 4 billion at the beginning of the bankruptcy proceeding. The debt was reduced in recent months, after a massive sale of assets carried out by Advocate Joseph Benkel, the trustee for Fishman's assets. The remaining debt is still enormous, however, and it was clear at the beginning of the proceeding that Fishman's assets would not be able to cover it. In the first report submitted by Benkel to the Tel Aviv District Court today, since Fishman was declared bankrupt and Benkel was appointed trustee, he lists his actions in the bankruptcy case since his previous report as a special manager on the court's behalf. Among other things, he describes in great detail how he had to intervene repeatedly in the process of selling the assets owned by Fishman or companies under his control when various officers were about to sell the assets at prices he regarded as not reflecting their maximum value.
In his report, Benkel is asking the court to allow him to hire professional services and services providers to help him locate all of Fishman's assets. It is being assumed that Fishman prepared for years for a bankruptcy proceeding, and probably took steps to smuggle assets. Benkel has been conducting a caustic legal battle against Fishman and his family in recent months in order to uncover assets in Israel and throughout the world that Benkel believes to be of the bankruptcy case.
Fishman rolled over his debts, which grew into the billions, for many years with almost no interference. His debt reached NIS 4 billion, and according to conservative estimates, including by Fishman himself, a NIS 1.5 billion debt will be left after all of his assets are sold. The report submitted today indicates that the debt currently stands at NIS 2.8 billion. According to the report, the debts to the large banks have been reduced: Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI), Fishman's largest creditor with a debt of over NIS 1.8 billion at the start of the proceeding, now has a NIS 1.5 billion debt left, after the sale of assets encumbered in its favor raised NIS 340 million. Bank Leumi's (TASE: LUMI) debt, which originally totaled NIS 950 million, is now NIS 260 million, and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank's (TASE:MZTF) original debt of NIS 230.6 million is now NIS 111.6 million. Israel Discount Bank's (TASE: DSCT) initial debt of NIS 283.7 million has now been reduced to NIS 260 million.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on July 12, 2017
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