Ayala Sara Cohen, a 30-year old master's degree student and former employee of SodaStream has been named as the former close associate of the company's chairman Daniel Birnbaum who is suspected of insider trading. Cohen allegedly last year received information from Birnbaum, then the Israeli carbonated drinks company CEO, about the imminent $3.2 billion acquisition by PepsiCo. The Tel Aviv District Court today lifted the restriction on naming Cohen.
Last week Birnbaum and Cohen were questioned by investigators from the Israel Securities Authorities Investigation Department on suspicion of committing offenses regarding the use of insider information, fraud and breach of trust. Cohen is also suspected of impeding the course of justice by erasing texts on her phone between her and Birnbaum.
When serving as SodaStream CEO Birnbaum is suspected of passing insider information on to Cohen on three different occasions. Cohen is suspected of using the insider information and buying the company's shares before they rose strongly on the information, and in this way making a profit of NIS 185,000.
Tel Aviv District Court Judsge Keren Gil has prohibited Cohen from having any contact with Birnbaum for 90 days and from leaving the country in the next six months and put up bail of NIS 450,000. Cohen's lawyer Adv. Eyal Lavie has appealed the size of the bail.
Birnbaum has been placed under house arrest, has put up bail of NIS 1.2 million and has been prohibited from leaving the country.
Daniel Birnbaum and Ayala Sara Cohen are only suspected of committing the aforementioned offenses. The criminal process is still in its early stages and Birnbaum and Cohen have not been convicted of any offense and have the right to the presumption of innocence.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 3, 2019
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