ROY VERMUS 58.
(photo credit: Psagot CEO Roy Vermus)
Everything seems fine. Barely nine months have gone by since the investigation
began into Psagot Investment House Ltd., and Israel Securities Authority
chairman Zohar Goshen is gaining real-time sanctions and a huge deterrent to the
market, as well as a promise of the biggest deal of the year.
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Prosecutor Moshe Lador has recorded a significant precedent and will earn the
biggest fine ever imposed on an Israeli company, while receiving acknowledgment
of responsibility, saving on criminal proceedings and due legal process. On the
way, somebody has already done the dirty work for both of them and removed two
esteemed managers – Roy Vermus and Shai Yaron – without having to worry about
hearings, proof and a trial.
Supervisor of Capital Markets Oded Sarig
gains involvement in the market.
York’s Israel representative Jeremy
Blank and his friends at York get rid of Psagot and get money for it. Zehavit
Cohen and Apax Partners get the deal they desire without any complications, and
NIS 140 billion of the public’s money looks safer.
So why does the entire
affair leave an unpleasant feeling? Why are so many people shifting about
uncomfortably in their chairs when everyone is claiming that all is correct and
everything is excellent? Why is there the need for forced excuses like those
appearing in the press releases of the Justice Ministry spokesman? Why was there
pressure to finish everything off by Shabbat? What was the hysterical urgency?
Since when does the Justice Ministry, headed by Yaakov Neeman, work on Shabbat?
Apax lawyers from Herzog, Fox, Neeman, Ehud Sol and Ilanit Landsman-Yogev met
urgently on Friday and put out a press release on Shabbat and briefed
journalists in the afternoon on Shabbat.
What happened – did war break
out? The state prosecutor and the ISA demanded somebody take
Jeremy Blank from York, the owners when the investigation
began, refused to take responsibility in the name of the company it controlled.
So Zehavit Cohen from Apax was ready to acknowledge responsibility and recognize
Lador and Goshen were happy. The question is why did the two
regulators accept such a cosmetic taking of responsibility from an external
body? After all, Cohen and Apax had absolutely no connection to Psagot and its
nostro money when the events occurred. So what is their acknowledgment of
responsibility and damage worth? It seems that as part of the discussions and
decisions the “findings of the investigation” were presented to Apax’s
That is what is written in the press release. Since when has
there been such generosity by the state prosecutor in presenting findings and to
future buyers? Did others connected to the affair receive the findings to glance
over? This requires explanation. This can even be seen as an apparent
obstruction of the investigation due to “Lack of public interest.”
again that weary joke. On Friday, Moshe Lador told Apax, “After Psagot will take
upon itself all the aforementioned steps and will complete the process, the case
will be closed against Psagot due to lack of public interest.”
is no public interest at stake, why does anybody need to take responsibility,
and why pay NIS 150 million, and why demand that the managers be ousted? If
there is no public interest, why are Goshen and Lador making anything out of the
case at all? Yet the press release on the affair twice mentions the word