(photo credit: POOL)
Former Bank Hapoalim head Dankner released from prison • By BEN HARTMAN and YONAH JEREMY BOB Former Bank Hapoalim chairman Dan Dankner walked out of Hermon Prison a free man on Tuesday, 8 months after he began serving a sentence for a series of conflict of interest violations from his time as head of the bank.
Flanked by his wife and children, Dankner smiled to reporters but made no statement as he climbed into a jeep and drove off.
In June of 2014 the Supreme Court reduced Dankner’s 12-month prison sentence to 8 months, following a protracted legal battle, during which Dankner tried to convince the court to drop his prison sentence altogether. Dankner’s prison sentence, which included a NIS 1 million fine, was handed down by the Tel Aviv District Court in December 2013 as part of a plea bargain that saw Danker avoid the more serious charges of money-laundering, impure ethical practices and harming the bank’s interests.
Before the Supreme Court, prosecutors argued against dropping the prison sentence, saying that Dankner’s crimes were unusually deserving of a harsh punishment even for a private official because he had undermined faith in the banking system, which are quasi- public companies in Israel.
The case against Danker centered on a number of instances where he did not disclose the business interests he had with other parties that had dealings with the bank, thus abusing his position at the bank.
In March of last year, Dankner was given a three-and-a-halfyear sentence in prison for his involvement in the Holyland Affair, the case in which former prime minister Ehud Olmert was also convicted. Danker, then head of Israel Salt Industries, was arrested in that case in 2010 along with Ya’acov Efrati, a former director of the Israel Lands Authority, for suspected bribery and corruption.
He is appealing the ruling.
Danker’s conviction and sentence were part of the downfall of a man who was part of a tiny group of tycoons who for years have exerted an outsized influence on a range of national issues in Israel.