The Tel Aviv District Court on Monday convicted former billionaire Nochi Dankner of the manipulation of shares of his own company in 2012.
Judge Khalid Kabub, from the court’s economic department, ruled that the former chairman of the IDB Group and co-defendant financier Itay Strum, the owner of ISP Group, were guilty of fraudulently trying to influence share prices.
“The evidence leaves no doubt about a conviction,” Kabub said in his summation.
The maximum sentence for stock manipulation in Israel is five years in prison.
Dankner lost control of IDB Holdings in 2013, as the company fell tens of millions of dollars in debt.
During the trial Dankner, who at one time was one of the richest people in the country, put much of the blame for IDB’s collapse on former communications minister Moshe Kahlon’s reforms in the cellular telephone market.
According to the indictment, in 2011 IDB, facing financial difficulties, found it hard to raise funds or get bank credit, the Hebrew-language Ynet news website reported.
In February 2012, IDB tried to raise cash by issuing shares and stock options. Dankner asked Strum to buy large volumes of shares in an effort to prop up the shares and generate interest in the stock.
The purchases, of around NIS 40 million ($10.8 million) were carried out at that time, according to Ynet.
The judge noted that Dankner didn’t act with the intention of swindling investors but rather out of a desire to rehabilitate his company. Nonetheless, he ruled, it was criminal deception.