Prosecutors close new case against jailed tycoon Nochi Dankner
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Prosecutors close new case against jailed tycoon Nochi Dankner

Gag order prevents publication of details of suspicions, which had reportedly threatened to disrupt businessman’s efforts to seek a presidential pardon

Former IDB Group chairman Nochi Dankner arrives at the Ma'asiyahu Prison in Lod to serve his three year sentence on October 2, 2018. (Flash90)
Former IDB Group chairman Nochi Dankner arrives at the Ma'asiyahu Prison in Lod to serve his three year sentence on October 2, 2018. (Flash90)

Prosecutors on Thursday said they were closing a case against jailed businessman Nochi Dankner that had threatened to scupper his hopes for a pardon.

Details of the case are banned from publication under a gag order.

It was not clear if the new case that was investigated was connected to a reported earlier extortion attempt of Dankner by other prisoners.

Last month Channel 13 news reported that Justice Minister Amir Ohana signed off on a pardon request for Dankner, who was imprisoned on securities-related offenses.

The request was then set to go before President Reuven Rivlin, who has final say on granting pardons.

However, police had reportedly already asked Rivlin to put off consideration of Dankner’s pardon request following an unspecified development. That development was apparently the new case, which has now been closed.

Channel 13 also reported that at around that time Dankner was moved from Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle to Nitzan, another prison in the central city, after fellow prisoners planned to extort him.

Dankner, the former controlling shareholder of IDB Holding Corp, is serving a three-year sentence for stock manipulation and other offenses.

Danker was initially set to serve two years in prison, but the Supreme Court in 2018 tacked on another year when he appealed the sentence, citing his role in carrying out millions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent transactions in an attempt to influence the share price of his troubled company.

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

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

He began serving his sentence on October 2, 2018.

Dankner, a favorite of Israel’s business community, was often credited with helping rescue the country’s economy at the height of the Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s. Under his leadership, IDB became Israel’s largest holding company and Dankner a celebrity.

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

However, both men appealed, and in its ruling in August 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).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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