The Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday sentenced former Bank Hapoalim chairman
Dan Dankner to one year in prison, which will make him one of the most powerful
men in the country to ever do jail time.
On October 17, the court
convicted Dankner of fraud, breach of trust, violation of proper management of
Bank Hapoalim and illegal receipt of funds and loans, as part of a plea bargain
Under the agreement, Dankner agreed to pay a NIS 1 million
The sentencing brought to an end a trial involving the most
extraordinary downfall of a man who was part of a tiny group of tycoons viewed
as having outsized influence on a range of national issues.
said that in this case, “the obligations of justice must override the obligation
to be merciful.”
It said that it was “obligated to condemn” Dankner’s
actions, even though the worst potential consequences of his actions did not
The sentencing does not, however, conclude Dankner’s legal
He is one of 16 defendants in the Holyland real estate
corruption trial where he is accused of bribing an aide of now deceased state
witness Shmuel Duchner.
The aide, Meir Rabin, is a relative of Yaakov
Efrati, then director of the Israel Lands Authority, and the supposed bribe was
allegedly designed to get favorable government treatment for Israel Salt
Industries Ltd., of which Dankner was chairman, including rezoning salt flats in
Atlit and Eilat.
In October, Dankner admitted paying Rabin to help him
navigate the maze of public obstacles to Israel Salt Industries projects, but
said that he wanted assistance to handle the issue in a legal manner, and flatly
denied that the payments were bribes.
The former bank chairman added that
if anyone “said the word bribe” to him, “they would have been thrown out of my