The documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm, contain information about 850 Israeli shareholders and directors, including familiar names like businessmen Idan Ofer, Teddy Sagi, and Yaakov Engel, in addition to well-known lawyers like Dov Weissglass, former Prime Minister's Office director general under late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and Jacob Weinroth. The particulars were published yesterday in the "Haaretz" newspaper.
Concerning Weinroth, the leaked papers included two documents of foreign companies. One, Sapir Holdings, registered in the British Virgin Islands, was used by Weinroth to deposit NIS 30 million from two clients, Mikhail Chernoy and Arcadi Gaydamak. The name of the company was mentioned in Weinroth's trial when he was acquitted of bribery and money laundering.
The founding documents of another company represented by Weinroth were also disclosed. The company was founded for the purpose of buying land from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem.
Around 2000, at Weinroth's urging, the state tried to buy the land through the Jewish National Fund. Another lawyer, Yaacov Rabinovitch, contacted Weinroth and presented himself as someone who could make the deal happen. It later emerged, however, that Rabinovitch was engaged in a scam, from which he made millions of shekels. Rabinovitch was later convicted of fraud and forgery in the affair.
Weissglass was mentioned in documents relating to several companies in the Virgin Islands and various tax shelters. The documents indicate that the companies were apparently designed to make real estate investments in Eastern Europe and investments in technology companies in Albania.
Corporate documents of Engel, owner of the Engel Invest group, were also disclosed, including documents of companies through which Engel obtained the franchise to operate a phosphate mine in Togo in West Africa at a cost of over $1 billion. According to the documents, other companies related to Engel deal in mining of minerals in other African countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.
Other companies whose documents were revealed are related to Ofer and his brother-in-law and former partner, Udi Angel. The documents indicate that Ofer owns an airplane through these companies.
Online gambling tycoon Sagi is also mentioned in the documents. Sagi reportedly has 16 offshore companies, some of which were used to hold real estate, including the famous project Sagi launched last year on the Camden site in London.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 4, 2016
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