BoI’s Fischer ‘regrets’ withdrawal by Frenkel

Karnit Flug, Fischer’s former deputy and the current acting governor, and Bank Hapoalim’s chief economist Leo Leiderman rumored to be top two choices for position.

July 31, 2013 01:51
1 minute read.
Stanley Fischer.

Stanley Fischer nice background 512. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Former Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer on Tuesday expressed regret over the circumstances that led Jacob Frenkel to withdraw his candidacy to succeed him Monday.

“I regret that the recent developments did not allow Jacob the privilege to serve the country as governor an additional time, something I’m certain would have contributed greatly to the State of Israel, its citizens and the Israeli economy,” said Fischer, who stepped down in June after eight years in the position.

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Frenkel, a former governor himself, withdrew his candidacy following revelations that he was detained in 2006 after allegedly shoplifting from a duty free store in the Hong Kong airport, an incident he said was simply a misunderstanding.

Fischer praised Frenkel for his economic achievements as governor, his intellect and his prestigious career.

Frenkel’s attorney Eli Zohar termed the rehashing of the Hong Kong incident “persecution” and “abuse.”

“We take an issue that’s done and closed that has nothing to it, and we consider whether this, whether that. I see in it far more than persecution,” Zohar said in an interview with Army Radio.

“Authorities in the country where the episode took place said there’s nothing behind it, and they very much hope Frenkel won’t sue over what happened.”

Having been met with a wave of harsh media criticism after deciding to leave a lucrative position as chairman of JPMorgan International to take up a third term as governor, Zohar said, his decision to step down was understandable.

Aside from the Hong Kong incident, Frenkel was also criticized for taking a hefty compensation package at the end of his previous term.

The state comptroller at the time forced him to return some NIS 230,000 following an investigation of the issue.

Zohar also expressed concern that the incidents affected the 70- year-old’s health.

Israeli media have speculated that the top two choices in consideration for the position, now that Frenkel has taken himself out of the running, are Karnit Flug, Fischer’s former deputy and the current acting governor, and Bank Hapoalim’s chief economist Leo Leiderman.

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