Police: Charge Hapoalim chairmen with misconduct

Dani Dankner is suspected of deceptively transferring funds from bank to company under his family's ownership.

Dan Dankner 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Dan Dankner 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former Bank Hapoalim chairman Dani Dankner and current CEO Zion Keinan should be charged over improper and illegal conduct, police recommended to state prosecutors on Thursday, in a move that sent shockwaves through the financial and banking world.
The National Fraud Unit’s investigation into Danker is focused on three main suspicions.
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In the first, he is suspected of misconduct during the purchase of the Turkish Positif bank. In 2005, Bank Hapoalim and the RP Group entered talks with Positif over the acquirement, at a time when Dankner served as director of Hapoalim. In 2007, Dankner became chairman.
In 2008, Dankner took a decision to grant the RP Group a large financial compensation package when the company was involved in a business partnership with the Elran Group, which is owned by Dankner’s family.
According to suspicions, Dankner hid his links with RP from other directors and senior officials at Bank Hapoalim.
The second part of the investigation concerns the transactions that allegedly took place at end of 2008 and the start of 2009, when Dankner, as chairman of Hapoalim, decided to address solvency issues faced by the owners of the Turkish bank, by purchasing further shares in it, while also receiving a loan of 5 million euros from the Dutch DHB Bank – owned by the same parties who own the Turkish Positif bank. Police suspect that this transaction was illegal.
A third part of the investigation centers on a NIS 3.4m. loan given to Dankner by Bank Hapoalim, with the assistance of several individuals tied to the bank.
“This loan, according to suspicions, was approved improperly, through a false presentation to the bank’s approvals committee,” police said.
Police also suspect that Keinan played a supporting role in approving the allegedly illegal loan, a source close to the investigation told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
The police’s head of investigations and intelligence, Cmdr. Yoav Seglovitch, studied the case material and advised state prosecutors to charge Dankner and Keinan on Thursday.
In light of the police’s announcement, Bank Hapoalim’s board of directors held a special meeting. It expressed its faith in Keinan, adding that it hoped that prosecutors would quickly find that “there is no place for legal procedures against him.”
Attorneys Navot Tel-Zur and Yoram Rabad, who represent Dankner, told the Calcalist newspaper, “Everyone must remember that the state prosecution, not the Israel Police, decides on whether to submit an indictment. Dani Dankner is sure his innocence will be proven at the end of the day.”
Zvi Agamon, an attorney who represents Keinan, said his client “respects the police and their actions. At the same time, due to my familiarity with the facts on which Keinan was questioned, I am astounded by the police’s decision.”

The lawyer added that the loan granted to Dankner met all bank requirements, and had been approved by the director’s committee.
In August 2010, Dankner was arrested in connection with the Holyland bribery affair, on suspicion of giving bribes to facilitate the conversion of industrial land he owned in Atlit into real estate developments.
He denied the suspicions against him.