Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered police to open an investigation against three former Bank Leumi executives alleged to have aided US customers in tax evasion, media reports said.
A US investigation against the bank led to Leumi paying $400 million in penalties plus additional costs. But now the police will also investigate former CEO Galia Maor, former chairman Eitan Raff, and former private banking head Zvi Itskovitz, Channel 2 said Friday.
The request by Mandelblit is unique in that agreements struck between US authorities and banks in France, Britain and Switzerland found to have committed similar violations were enough to prevent additional charges by their respective governments at home, the Haaretz daily reported.
In the 2016 settlement, the trio was ordered to return a total of $1.42 million in bonuses.
Similar investigations are ongoing in the US against the Israeli Hapoalim and Mizrahi Tefahot banks. The former is expected to be issued fines akin to those paid by Leumi, Haaretz said.
Meretz party chairwoman Zehava Galon, who had appealed to the attorney general several years ago requesting that an investigation be opened against the bank, praised the decision to do so in a Friday statement.
“The opening of a criminal investigation sends a message of tremendous importance to the entire financial system, whose leaders, in recent years, have recklessly abandoned the Israeli public’s money and thought they could escape without paying the price,” she said.
Responding to the original Channel 1 report, the Justice Ministry said that it would not comment on the investigation.