Supreme Court temporarily blocks Better Place sale freeze

Court ruling freezes sale of electric car manufacturer to Merkur group after bank rejects initial down payment check.

Better place 311 (photo credit: Better place)
Better place 311
(photo credit: Better place)
Supreme Court Justice Uri Shoham on Friday temporarily suspended Thursday’s Lod District Court order that froze the sale of Better Place to Tzahi Merkur’s Success Group.
Shoham’s decision, handed down Friday but announced Sunday, did not indicate what his final ruling will be; rather, it postponed a decision until October 25, giving Merkur time to appeal the order while preventing any irreversible changes to “facts on the ground.”
Thursday’s court ruling froze the sale of the electric-car manufacturer to the Merkur group – the second buyer to step up in the unpredictable bankruptcy that has been playing out since May – after the bank rejected an initial down-payment check.
The JPMorgan Chase check, which was supposed to deliver the first 20 percent of the NIS 11 million payment for the company, lacked any of the standard information and account details, according to the liquidator. According to Globes, the bank’s automated check-verification hotline turned up an “invalid account” response.
The liquidators furiously filed a motion in the court, denouncing the Merkur company for what it called a “breach of sale” and its recalcitrance.
The drama over the Success Group follows a previous round of trouble with the Better Place liquidation.
After a series of mishaps and mishandlings prevented Green EV consortium, the original purchaser, from making payments, the Central District Court agreed to sell the Better Place assets to Success Group in August. The operational assets – held by liquidators Sigal Rosen- Rechav and Shaul Kotler – originally had a price tag of NIS 18m. The intellectual property rights, which Green EV maintained, were registered under separate jurisdiction in Switzerland.
At the time, the court decision specified that the group would be responsible for continued payments even if, for example, vehicles were not released to it by the state – the problem Green EV cited for its failure to make payments.
Sharon Udasin contributed to this story.