President Reuven Rivlin has acceded to the request for a pardon from Nochi Dankner, the former controlling shareholder and chairman of the IDB group who was jailed after being convicted of share pegging. The president cut four months from Dankner's sentence in order that he would be able to appear before the Release Committee to receive a further shortening of his sentence and leave prison immediately.
A statement from the presidential residence says: "President Reuven Rivlin decided to commute four months of the prison sentence of Nochi Dankner to a suspended sentence that will be added to the suspended sentence already imposed on him. This decision will enable Dankner to appear before the Release Committee early instead of appearing as he was due to do at the beginning of this May.
"The decision was made on the basis of Dankner's current medical condition. It is a case of medical circumstances that were not brought before the court when sentence was passed and that according to a medical opinion have considerably worsened during his imprisonment and require urgent medical intervention."
At the end of last week, the Central District Attorney's Office informed Dankner that it had decided to close the pending investigation file on him. The substance of the suspicions and the details of the investigation are still subject to a gag order. A month ago, it was reported that Dankner, once one of the most powerful people in Israel's business world, had been transferred from Ma'asiyahu Prison to Nitzan Prison because of a further criminal investigation concerning him.
The investigation was conducted by the fraud division of the Israel Police Central Region. The police asked the president to freeze the decision on Dankner's request for a pardon. Danker is serving a three-year sentence for manipulation of the share price of IDB in order to secure the success of an equity offering.
In February 2019, five months after he started to serve his sentence, Netanyahu submitted a request for a pardon to the president, chiefly on the grounds of his medical condition. His lawyers stated in the request that Dankner's contribution to Israeli society should be taken into account, as well as the public interest in allowing Dankner to repay his debts on the basis of the settlement to which he committed when IDB collapsed.
The president's spokesperson said when the recent investigation was opened that no decision on the request for a pardon would be made until the enforcement agencies finished dealing with the matter. Once this cloud lifted, the president was able to consider the request.
Sources close to Dankner said as soon as the latest affair broke that the suspicions were groundless and that he was the victim of a plot, and even raised the possibility of blackmail by a fellow prisoner.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 13, 2020
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