The man once considered the strongest figure in the Israeli business community has become a prisoner in Ma'assiyahu Prison. Nochi Dankner arrived at the prison in Ramleh today to start to serve the three-year sentence passed by the Supreme Court for his conviction on charges of securities manipulation in the stock of IDB Group, which he controlled, in February 2012. Dankner was found guilty of carrying out essentially fictitious transactions in order to support the share price of IDB and thereby ensure the success of an equity issue intended to raise cash for the heavily indebted group. The group ultimately entered into a debt arrangement and was taken over by Eduardo Elsztain.
Just before entering the prison, Dankner made a short statement, saying: "This is a difficult occasion for me and my family. I trust in God and I very much trust in the justice system and I love the State of Israel." Dankner refused to respond to reporters' questions, including on whether he would express regret.
Danker arrived at the prison wearing a black T-shirt and grave-faced, carrying a bag with his personal items. He was accompanied by his lawyer, Shani Iluz, and several family members and friends, including his son-in-law Tal Engelard, who was at his side during his trial. As soon as he appeared he was mobbed by reporters and photographers.
Dankner will be incarcerated in the same wing of the Ma'assiyau Prison where former prime minister Ehud Olmert served his sentence for his part in the Holyland real estate project corruption affair, and where former chief rabbi Yonah Metzger, who was convicted on charges of accepting bribes, and former Jerusalem city engineer Uri Shetrit, who was also convicted in the Holyland affair, are currently serving time.
On August 30 this year, the Supreme Court upheld Dankner's conviction for securities fraud, and increased his sentence from two to three years imprisonment. The prison sentence of Dankner's accomplice, Itay Strum, was increased from one year to two. Strum will start to serve his sentence on October 7. The Supreme Court stressed the need for severe penalties for economic crime in general, and securities fraud in particular.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 2, 2018
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