Israel's Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by businessman Adi Keizman against the NIS 6 million he owes investors Muly Litvak, Dr. Anat Levin and Targetmatch, the company that they own. The suit, which was first filed in June 2020 claimed that Keizman had not returned to Litvak and Levin their investment in a real estate project that he had developed and promoted in Berlin with their money. They claimed that Keizman had breached his obligation to pay them some NIS 5.9 million for an option letter signed between them.
Keizman, who has been living abroad in recent years, did not appear for questioning about his affidavit and did not deposit the NIS 2 million shekels set by the District Court for the authority to defend himself. In December 2021, the ruling was handed down by the District Court, on which an appeal was filed.
Supreme Court Justices Isaac Amit, Ofer Grosskopf and Yechiel Kasher ruled, "A favor was granted the petitioner, when the court related to the substance of his claims, even though he did not appear to answer questions about his affidavit. A favor was granted the petitioner, when the lower court conditioned the authority to defend himself on the deposition, even though it found that the defense was divorced from reality. And more than necessary, we note that we also believe that the documents show a clear personal commitment by the petitioner towards the respondents." In addition to the amount of the lawsuit, Keizman was ordered to pay the investors NIS 35,000 for legal expenses.
Keizman asked to present further evidence but the judges refused
After the hearing in the Supreme Court, Keizman asked to be allowed to present additional evidence but the judges refused. "We did not see that there was anything in it to tip the scale for accepting the appeal. In any case, we do not believe that there is anything in the evidence to turn matters around. The respondents at the time received a personal option from the petitioner. The fact that the property in the project, which was held in the chain by Verbana (one of the companies lower in the chain) was sold does not affect the petitioners commitment - a commitment that came into existence to limit the risk of the respondents - the investors. It goes without saying that the respondents did not receive any amount from the sale of the project's property and that the claim that the petitioner did not know about the sale of the project's property at the time and that after the hearing of the appeal he was surprised to find out that it had been sold, is a puzzling claim to say the least."
In the suit, Litvak and Levin claimed that they invested in a real estate project in Germany - "Verbana" - which includes 1,200 apartments, which was developed and managed by Keizman. They were given an option letter to sell all their holdings in the project to Keizman personally, within a year from the date of the deal in exchange for the return of the full amount of their investment in the project. Despite their repeated demands, Keizman refrained from buying their share in the project in exchange for the return of their investment. According to Litvak and Levin, they discovered to their astonishment that Keizman had abandoned the project himself, and the investment had been based mainly on the knowledge that Keizman would be leading it. Litvak and Levin claimed that Keizman had sold all of his holdings in the project (50%) to a third party.
Keizman was represented by Advs. Chai Michael and Roy Shalev of the Goldblatt, Gindes, Yariv law firm and Litvak and Levin were represented by Advs. Yotam Blaushild and Sapir Dollinger of Herzog law firm. Blaushild said, "Mr. Keizman's attempts to evade and pursue legal proceedings have now come to an end, and it is expected of Mr. Keizman, who until now has not complied with the ruling and has not paid his debt to the plaintiffs, to change his ways and pay his debt. We will not hesitate to use all the legal means at our disposal and force him to prioritize the payment of his debts before the life of luxury and indulgence that Keizman and his family lead in Los Angeles."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 28, 2023.
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