Business in Brief: July 18

Eli Reifman convicted of fraud; Mubarak: Israel paid triple for gas; Financial Levers falls after offices searched.

Bibi netanyahu (photo credit: JPost Staff)
Bibi netanyahu
(photo credit: JPost Staff)
Eli Reifman convicted of fraud • By CHEN MA’ANIT
The Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday convicted Emblaze Ltd. founder and former chairman Eli Reifman of aggravated fraud, forgery and use of forged documents.
Judge David Rosen said in two separate cases Reifman had fraudulently received $6.3 million in loans from two foreign investment companies on the basis of forged documents, which claimed that he owned Emblaze shares for collateral. “It was proven to me that Reifman received millions of dollars from Winton Capital Holdings Ltd. and Double U on the basis of false representation that he owned nine million Emblaze shares,” Rosen said.
An order of receivership was placed against Reifman in March 2009, and the High Court of Justice later dismissed his appeal to lift it. When Tel Aviv District Court Judge Varda ordered Reifman to transfer his Emblaze shares to special receiver Eitan Erez, Reifman refused, claiming he no longer owned the shares, which had been transferred to a trustee. Alshech sent him to jail three times for contempt of court because of this refusal.
Reifman claimed he was the beneficiary of an allocation of 39 million Emblaze shares that were held in blind trust for him. Emblaze’s current owners said Reifman’s legal troubles since 2006 meant he had no right to any Emblaze shares, adding that the trustees listed in the company’s records did not hold the shares for Reifman but for other beneficiaries.
Mubarak: Israel paid triple for gas • By AMIRAM BARKAT
“We stopped exporting for sometime until we pushed them to raise the price from $1 to $3 and to allow us to review the price every three years. They agreed with great difficulty to both conditions,” former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak told investigator Mustafa Suleiman, who questioned him about the natural- gas treaty with Israel, Egyptian daily Youm7 reported Friday. Mubarak was questioned at the Sharm e- Sheikh hospital in late April and on May 10 about the gas contract, the paper said.
The main charge in the Egyptian government’s case against Mubarak is that the price of gas set in the contract with Israel was below the market price. The prosecutors claim the deal cost Egypt $715 million. Israel says that figure is based on a New York Times article, which the paper later corrected. Yosef Maiman’s Merhav Group, a shareholder in Egypt’s East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), which handles the exports to Israel, says Israel paid Egypt more than all its other export markets.
Mubarak denied any responsibility for setting the price of the natural gas in the contracts. He also denied any role in the appointment of his associate, Hussain Salem, as chairman of EMG. Mubarak said EMG “substantially contributed to the Egyptian intelligence service,” the paper reported.
Financial Levers falls after offices searched
The TA-25 Index lost less than 0.1 percent to 1,251.14 at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv on Sunday.
Africa-Israel Investments rose 2.1% after the holding company’s Africa Israel Properties unit said it had completed a NIS 840 million refinancing agreement for an office building in Tel Aviv.
Financial Levers, an investment company, slumped 8.5% after it said the Israel Securities Authority had searched its offices last Wednesday and confiscated documents.
Paz Oil Co., a maker of petroleum-based products, fell 0.9% after it said an International Air Transport Association report published on Friday had not contained information finding the company at fault for contaminated jet fuel that stopped air traffic in Israel in early May. Protalix BioTherapeutics decreased 2.8%.
Biocell slipped 1.6% after saying its board had decided to keep a 17% stake in the investment company.
• Bloomberg