Convicted tycoon Nochi Dankner set to begin jail term
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Convicted tycoon Nochi Dankner set to begin jail term

Former IDB head to enter Maasiyahu prison for 3-year sentence after being convicted of securities-related offenses

Former chairman of IDB Group Nochi Dankner seen at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on April 23, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Former chairman of IDB Group Nochi Dankner seen at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on April 23, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Businessman Nochi Dankner will begin his three-year jail sentence Tuesday after being convicted of stock manipulation and other securities-related offenses.

Dankner will begin serving his sentence at Maasiyahu Prison in the central city of Ramla.

He is expected to be housed at Wing 10, the so-called “VIP wing” where former prime minister Ehud Olmert was also incarcerated.

Following an appeal, the Supreme Court in August increased Dankner’s sentence from two years to three over the role of the former controlling shareholder of IDB Holding Corp. in carrying out millions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent transactions in an attempt to influence the share price of the troubled company.

Dankner had sunk into massive debt with the banks and had met a brick wall trying to raise cash or get further loans.

IDB took on millions of dollars in debt following a series of bad business deals. The courts wrested control of IDB from Dankner as a result.

Dankner, a favorite of Israel’s business community, was often credited with helping rescue Israel’s economy at the height of a Palestinian uprising. Under his leadership, IDB became Israel’s largest holding company and Dankner became a celebrity.

The Ma’asiyahu Prison complex in Ramle, near Tel Aviv. (Courtesy/Israel Prisons Service)

Dankner had been given a two-year prison sentence in 2016. His co-defendant, Itay Strum, owner of a company that managed assets for wealthy families, was sentenced to one year behind bars.

However, both men appealed their sentence. In August’s ruling the court increased Dankner’s sentence to three years and Strum’s to two years.

Dankner — once one of the richest men in Israel — was also given a one-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay a fine of NIS 800,000 ($209,000).

In the ruling Judge David Mintz said that the pair’s actions had harmed public confidence in the stock market, adding that it increased suspicion that trading prices for securities do not accurately reflect the economic activity of the economy or the market.

The judges said that they felt the initial sentence was not commensurate with the severity of the crimes.

During his original trial, Dankner did not deny his “failures and poor decisions,” but tried unsuccessfully to convince the court that his actions had not been criminal. He tried to put much of the blame for IDB’s collapse on reforms in the cellular market introduced by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon in his previous cabinet role of communications minister.

AP contributed to this report.

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