Dankner Debt Write-Off Sparks Anger

(Miriam Alster/Flash90)
(Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A 1 billion-shekel write-off by Bank Leumi of Israeli tycoon Nochi Dankner’s debt has sparked public anger over apparent favoritism.

Opposition leader MK Shelly Yacimovich called on Bank Leumi customers Thursday to withdraw their deposits if the bank forgives Dankner’s debt.

“I call upon major and minor clients to inform Bank Leumi that if it indeed intends to forgive Nochi Dankner’s debt and thereby damage the bank and the bank’s security cushion, they will withdraw their accounts from the bank,” she said yesterday evening on Army Radio. “A pubic protest could call the bank and its conduct to order.”

In a letter to the Supervisor of Banks David Zaken, Yacimovich wrote, “I ask that you act to the full  extent of your powers to prevent this scandalous decision, which exudes a strong smell of favoring cronies, and that no private individual or small or medium-sized business owner would have been granted except in his dreams.”

The Knesset has already entered the picture. Supervisor of Banks David Zaken has been summoned to appear to discuss the matter before the Knesset Finance Committee next Tuesday. However, Zaken will ask for more time to give an opinion about the debt settlement for Ganden Investments Dankner controls IDB Holding Corp., Globes reported.

The Bank of Israel does not normally intervene in debt settlements of this kind, which fall within the discretion of bank executives, but the specter of consumer protests has them worried.

An online-organized consumer boycott of Leumi, which is calling for a demonstration on Monday at the bank’s headquarters in Tel Aviv, has so far garnered over 3,000 supporters.

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