Businessmen Jacky Ben-Zaken and Eitan Eldar were sentenced on Sunday to three years imprisonment and fined NIS 250,000 each for stock manipulation and fraud.
In handing down the ruling, Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen said that the penalties should be even harsher, and prison terms for such offenses should be increased to four to seven years. Stock manipulation, he said, could harm confidence in the capital market.
In September, the two were convicted for manipulating the stock of their company Israel Financial Levers Ltd in 2010, setting up the sale of large numbers of shares to inflate the price. The purpose was to get the company included on the TA-100, an index of the 100 biggest companies traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The TA-100 is widely traded, because many pension funds and other investment vehicles buy into it, making inclusion attractive.
In doing so, the judge said, they profited even while pensioners and other savers invested in the TA-100 lost out.
“The accused were motivated and acted toward one purpose alone: shoveling fortunes into their pockets,” the judge said.
The judge said that he took into account charitable works by Ben-Zaken, who owns the F.C. Ashdod soccer club, in making his decision.