Dankner suspected of fraudulently obtaining loan

State Attorney's Office announces intention to indict former Bank Hapoalim chairman subject to a hearing.

Bank Hapoalim 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Bank Hapoalim 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The State Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday that it plans to indict former Bank Hapoalim chairman Dan Dankner, subject to a hearing, on charges of fraudulently obtaining a loan from Bank Hapoalim.
The Economic Division of the State Attorney’s Office informed Dankner’s attorneys on Monday that it is considering filing an indictment against Dankner on counts of fraudulent receipt and carrying out actions prohibited by the Money Laundering Law.
The office noted that the suspicions regarding the Bank Hapoalim loan have been separated from initial suspicions raised against Dankner in September, in light of State Attorney Moshe Lador’s decision not to discuss the case but to transfer it to Deputy State Attorney Shai Nitzan for consideration.
In September, the State Attorney’s Office announced its intention to indict Dankner for bribery, corruption, fraud and breach of trust in a corporation, money-laundering and harming proper banking practices.
The hearing regarding the allegations made in September should be held soon, the office said, adding that in all likelihood the new allegations against Dankner will be addressed in the same hearing.
According to the State Attorney’s Office, the additional suspicions against Danker include that on October 27, 2008, the former Bank Hapoalim chief approached Zion Kenan, then director of the bank’s Corporate Division, and requested a bridging loan of $3.4 million (NIS 12,841,800 at the then prevailing exchange rate), for a period of one year.
The draft indictment alleges that Dankner told Kenan the purpose of the loan was to fund investments for property construction.
Dankner’s request was allegedly transferred to Bank Hapoalim’s stakeholder’s committee.
Partly as a result of Kenan’s explanation about the purpose of the loan, the stakeholder’s commission approved the application, subject to a review by Kenan confirming that the total value of Dankner’s personal assets, as announced on his personal assets report, was at least twice that of the loan request, the draft indictment alleges.
According to the State Attorney’s Office, in November 2008 Dankner submitted two different statements containing false or incomplete information regarding the value of his personal assets. As a result of the statements, Bank Hapoalim approved the loan, which Dankner put to various uses but not toward construction of real-estate assets as he had told Kenan, the draft indictment charges.
The investigation against Dankner was conducted by the police’s National Fraud Squad and by a team of attorneys from the Economic Department of the State Attorney’s Office, led by division head attorney Avia Alef.
Dankner’s lawyers – Yoram Raved, Joseph Benkel, Ruth Litvak and Navot Tel-Tzur – said Dankner strongly rejected the allegations.
“There is no room to summon Dankner to a hearing on this matter, when only a few days ago the State Attorney’s Office stated in a different decision on this very same matter that there is no causal connection between the assets report given by Dankner and the loan approval by members of the bank’s loan committee,” Dankner’s attorneys said.
“On that basis the State Attorney’s Office should also close the case against Dankner,” they said.
Dankner’s lawyers added that Dankner had repaid the loan in full to Bank Hapoalim some time ago.
“The [State Attorney’s Office’s] insistence of attributing further allegations to Dankner points to a serious weakness in the claims made against him so far. There is no other explanation for a further hearing summons.
In this light, the decision to summon Dankner to a hearing in this case provokes unease and raises serious doubts as to the discretion and motives behind the decision.”
Last week, Deputy State Attorney Shai Nitzan announced his decision to close the fraud case against Bank Hapoalim chairman Zion Kenan for lack of evidence.
The decision came a year after the Fraud Squad opened an investigation into Kenan, who was suspected of fraud, fraudulent receipt and breach of trust in relation to a Bank Hapoalim credit application made by Dankner.
Police had suspected that Kenan had lied to members of the bank’s stakeholders’ committee during an October 2008 meeting regarding Dankner’s loan request.
Kenan allegedly said that he was in possession of a personal assets report that Dankner had sent him. Police suspected that Kenan had not received the report at that time.
Nitzan said, however, that after examining the investigation files, he found that the case lacked the evidence needed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Kenan had lied to Bank Hapoalim committee members, or to establish a causal link between the alleged lies and the committee’s decision to approve the loan to Dankner.