August 18, 2022

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Former Finance Minister Grilled over Credit Firm Scandal

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Moshe Kahlon, the former finance minister of Israel, was interrogated on Monday by the Israel Securities Authority. Until recently, Kahlon had served as the chairman of the non-banking credit company Unet, which is now being investigated.

A series of scandals

Reports indicated that the Israel Securities Authority interrogated the ex-finance minister for more than two hours. He had resigned from his position in the company in the previous month, but it is suspected that he was familiar with the discrepancies and had failed to report them.

In the last year, there have been a series of scandals that involve the company and the authorities were drawn in after reports of repeated inconsistencies found in its funds. Nati Simchoni, the lawyer representing Kahlon, said that he was cooperating with the law enforcement officials fully and welcomed the investigation.

The statement from the lawyer said that after the investigation is complete, it will prove Kahlon’s moral path and integrity and not taint his reputation in any way. The attorney’s statement said that Kahlon had been a public figure for a long time and his goal had been to serve the public, even when he was chairman of Unet.

The arrests

Last Tuesday, four senior company employees had been arrested. These include the controlling shareholders of Unet, Shai Penso and Shlomo Isaac, Yitzhak Eviatar, who served as the Nazareth branch head and the former chief executive, Yitzhak Ezer.

A court released the four individuals under restrictive conditions, which include not being able to leave Israel for about 180 days. According to a statement from the Securities Authority, the individuals who are involved in the scandal are suspected of stealing tens of thousands of shekels. It said that the money had been stolen from the public company and transferred to a private one. Penso, Isaac and Ezer are shareholders of this firm.

According to the authority, these suspects were engaging in fraud and forged and falsely registered documents of the company to hide their activities from the public and the company.

Unet’s situation

In the last year, there have been a number of discrepancies at Unet, which include a loan given to Nazareth-based Zoabi Holding worth NIS 37.5 million that the company has not been able to collect. Likewise, there are also checks missing worth NIS 10.6 million.

Last week, the company also disclosed that they had come across yet another discrepancy in their books. This was a transaction made to a private company worth NIS 50 million, but it had not been approved or reported.

The main branch of the company, which is located in Holon, was also robbed in May, as thieves disguised as deliverymen had taken NIS 3.5 million. It was suspected that former company executives had assisted them from the inside.

Last month, the company also underwent an internal audit, which disclosed that the company’s books had a discrepancy of about NIS 7.7 million. Kahlon’s resignation had also come last month, once news emerged about the criminal activities.

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