Court convicts former Bank Hapoalim chairman of fraud

Dani Dankner to pay NIS 1 million penalty; intends to fight against jail time; prosecutor drops more serious charges.

Dani Dankner 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Dani Dankner 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Tel Aviv District Court convicted former Bank Hapoalim chairman Dani Dankner on Thursday of fraud, breach of trust, improper management of the bank and illegal receipt of funds and loans.
The conviction was decided in a plea bargain agreement, achieved partially by the prosecution’s concession of dropping the more serious charges against Dankner, such as money-laundering, impure ethical practices and harming the bank’s interests.
As part of the agreement, Dankner agreed to pay an NIS 1 million penalty.
A statement by the prosecution indicated that head state prosecutor Moshe Lador had personally approved the agreement.
Dankner was once among the most powerful businessmen in Israel, with influence on a range of national issues.
The conviction related to a number of incidents in which he acted with a conflict of interest, and withheld from Bank Hapoalim’s board that he was part of a partnership with other parties with which the bank had dealings.
In one instance, he withheld that he had a financial interest with another company which Bank Hapoalim had a dispute with. Dankner used his power on both sides of the dispute to set the compensation that the other company would pay the bank at NIS 25m., raising questions about whether he kept the sum low so as not to damage his interests with the other company.
In another instance, Dankner moved the bank toward making a number of favorable decision in its relations with a company from Holland, while concealing from the bank’s board that the same company from Holland was giving him an NIS 5m. loan in his individual capacity.
Despite the agreement on the charges, there was no agreement on the sentence, so the court still needs to make a ruling on whether Dankner will go to prison.
The prosecution confirmed it will seek jail time, while Dankner reportedly will try to convince the court that in light of the reduced charges to which he pleaded guilty, the substantial fine he is paying is sufficient punishment.
The hearing for argument over sentencing is scheduled for Sunday.