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ISA suspects Rani Zim gave Airports Authority exec inside info

  • January 12, 2023

New details have emerged of the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) investigation of suspicion of misuse of insider information by Psagot controlling shareholder and chairperson Rani Zim and CEO Yaniv Bender. Zim is suspected of having passed on inside information to a senior person at the Israel Airports Authority, whose name may not be reported, and that she carried out purchases of securities before substantial announcements were made by the company in question. She and Bender have also been questioned by the ISA.

It can be surmised that, under questioning, Zim claimed, as do many suspects questioned about alleged inside information offences, that he warned the person from the Airports Authority, who later became a director at Psagot, of the prohibition against using inside information, and that if she did use such information, she did so on her own account, without Zim’s active involvement.

It should be pointed out that Zim is also a 50% partner in the franchise for operating duty free electrical and electronic products stores at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. The other 50% belongs to Electra Consumer Products.

Shares in Psagot fell by 7.62% yesterday, cutting its market cap to NIS 230 million – a 40% drop over the past year. The share price fell by a further 3.77% today. Zim owns 61.5% of the company and Bender 10%. Zim acquired control of Psagot from Altshuler Shaham in May 2021 for NIS 405 million.

Adv. Eran Shaham-Shavit, of law firm Balter Guth Aloni Co., who is the attorney representing the company officers at Psagot, stated on their behalf: “To the best of our understanding, the investigation concerns events in the past that have nothing to do with the business of investment house Psagot. All transactions in securities by my clients were carried out lawfully and with specific legal advice. Accordingly, we are sure that, when the investigating authority concludes its examination, it will become clear that my clients have acted lawfully and irreproachably. I would add that the officers cooperated with the investigation, and were released to their homes after questioning with no restrictions placed on them in relation to their roles in the public company.”

Rani Zim and Yaniv Bender are suspects only, have not been convicted of any crime, and are entitled to the presumption of innocence.

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