Options speculator Aroch convicted in forgery plea

Aroch pleads guilty to forging documents, and the court sentences him to a 12-month suspended prison term and a fine of NIS 50,000.

January 25, 2012 06:37
1 minute read.
Courtroom gavel [illustrative]

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The Tel Aviv District Court approved a plea bargain on Tuesday struck by options speculator Eli Aroch’s defense team, ending a decade-long case.

Under the plea bargain, Aroch pleaded guilty to forging documents, and the court sentenced him to a 12-month suspended prison term and a fine of NIS 50,000.

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In 1999 Aroch opened accounts at investment firm Ilanot Batucha, which later became Clal Finance. When a dispute arose between Aroch and the firm, Aroch forged documents that led the arbitrator overseeing the case, Judge Yaakov Meltz, to believe that Clal Finance had caused Aroch to lose large sums of money by failing to implement certain instructions he gave them in a timely manner.

“[Aroch] forged many documents, and succeeded in tricking the professional bodies and the arbitrator,” prosecutor Ruth Shavit told the court.

As a result, in 2006 Meltz ruled in favor of Aroch, and ordered the firm to compensate him with close to NIS 100 million, a decision that sent shockwaves through Israel’s capital markets community.

In 2007, after Clal Finance requested that the arbitration award be annulled, the police began to investigate Aroch. A year later, the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office filed an indictment against Aroch and his associate, David Shiloach, alleging Aroch had committed aggravated fraud in connection with the payout.

Shiloach was convicted of fraud under a 2010 plea bargain and fined NIS 50,000.

Aroch, however, attempted suicide shortly after the indictment and was hospitalized.

He was later declared unfit to stand trial, but in May 2011 the District Attorney’s Office filed another indictment following new psychiatric reports that declared Aroch fit to stand trial.

The prosecution told the court that it agreed to the plea bargain in light of Aroch’s mental state, but emphasized that its decision should not be construed as a precedent for future cases.

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