Court sentences former Bank Hapoalim chairman Dankner to 1 year in prison

Danny Dankner to pay NIS 1 million in concurrence with plea bargain agreement.

Danny Danker 370 (photo credit: Pool/Haaretz/Tomer Applebaum)
Danny Danker 370
(photo credit: Pool/Haaretz/Tomer Applebaum)
The Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday sentenced former Bank Hapoalim chairman Dan Dankner to one year in prison, which will make him one of the most powerful men in the country to ever do jail time.
On October 17, the court convicted Dankner of fraud, breach of trust, violation of proper management of Bank Hapoalim and illegal receipt of funds and loans, as part of a plea bargain agreement.
Under the agreement, Dankner agreed to pay a NIS 1 million penalty.
The sentencing brought to an end a trial involving the most extraordinary downfall of a man who was part of a tiny group of tycoons viewed as having outsized influence on a range of national issues.
The court said that in this case, “the obligations of justice must override the obligation to be merciful.”
It said that it was “obligated to condemn” Dankner’s actions, even though the worst potential consequences of his actions did not materialized.
The sentencing does not, however, conclude Dankner’s legal troubles.
He is one of 16 defendants in the Holyland real estate corruption trial where he is accused of bribing an aide of now deceased state witness Shmuel Duchner.
The aide, Meir Rabin, is a relative of Yaakov Efrati, then director of the Israel Lands Authority, and the supposed bribe was allegedly designed to get favorable government treatment for Israel Salt Industries Ltd., of which Dankner was chairman, including rezoning salt flats in Atlit and Eilat.
In October, Dankner admitted paying Rabin to help him navigate the maze of public obstacles to Israel Salt Industries projects, but said that he wanted assistance to handle the issue in a legal manner, and flatly denied that the payments were bribes.
The former bank chairman added that if anyone “said the word bribe” to him, “they would have been thrown out of my office.”