Shikun & Binui Holdings Ltd. (TASE: SKBN), through its lawyer Adv. Pini Rubin, is in advanced talks with the State Attorney's Office Taxation and Economics in order to sign a deal over alleged bribery of public officials in Africa. Under the terms of the deal, the company would be prepared to pay a huge fine on condition that the charges over bribery are withdrawn. Sources familiar with the matter have told "Globes" that the fine would be NIS 200 million - a record amount imposed on a company in Israel - with Shikun & Binui convicted of a less offense than bribery, which has yet to be decided.
The plea bargain agreement would not include the 15 former senior executives at the company, who have already undergone a hearing at the State Attorney's Office.
However, "Globes" has learned that former Shikun & Binui CEO Ofer Kotler is in advanced talks with the State Attorney over a deal through his lawyer Adv. Giora Adereth. Under the terms of the deal Kotler would admit to bribery and only receive a short prison sentence, as the State Attorney is demanding, or community service as his lawyer is insisting.
The State Attorney has closed the case against former Shikun & Binui controlling shareholder Shari Arison and Arison Investments CEO Efrat Peled.
The alleged bribes were part of a suspected money laundering scheme and false reporting and registration made by the group’s former managers and employees, including its executives. It was alleged that a culture of bribery had benefitted Shikun & Binui financially on an immense scale.
Weight will also be given to the fact that Shikun & Binui is a public company that has since changed hands in ownership and has a new management after Arison sold her 47% stake in the company to Naty Saidoff in 2018 for NIS 1.1 billion.
The previous record fine paid by a company in Israel was by Siemens, which paid NIS 160 million in 2017 in another bribery affair, which involved rigging NIS 3 billion worth of tenders from the Israel Electricity Corp. Siemens Israel also paid a NIS 63 million fine to settle the affair.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 25, 2021.
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