Bribery case against Shikun & Binui closed, subsidiaries penalized

Naty Saidoff  credit: Eyal Izhar
Naty Saidoff credit: Eyal Izhar

Companies in the Shikun & Binui group will pay a total of NIS 260 million in the affair of bribery of public servants in Africa.

The taxation and economic prosecutor’s office has closed the case of bribing a public servant against infrastructure and real estate development company Shikun & Binui (TASE: SKBN) . At the same time, an indictment was filed today against Shikun & Binui subsidiary SBI Infrastructure, in the framework of a plea bargain, charging the company with conspiring to commit a crime and a breach of securities law.

In the plea bargain, the subsidiary will admit the charges, and will ask to pay a fine of NIS 10 million. In addition, a sum of NIS 250 million, held by the state since 2018 from SBI International Holdings AG, a Swiss subsidiary SBI Infrastructure, will be foreclosed.

Shikun & Binui chairperson Naty Saidoff said, "I am glad that this old affair that has continued for years has end with the closing of the case against the company. We now look to the future with our full energy."

In 2018, the overt investigation began of suspicions of payment to public servants in Africa using a separate set of accounts and amid failure to report the payments in the company’s financial statements. This followed an amendment to Israeli criminal law in 2008 establishing the offence of bribing a foreign public servant to promote business activity. The investigation was concluded five years ago, but he decision whether or not to filed an indictment was delayed for a long time. In 2021, it was decided to close the case against Shikun & Bunui’s controlling shareholder at the time, Shari Arison.

Last December, senior Shikun & Binui managers, among them former CEO Ofer Kotler, signed a plea bargain with light penalties and no prison term. At the same time the cases were closed against former Shikun & Binui chairperson Ravit Barniv, SBI CEO Yehuda Elimelech, and former Shikun & Binui general counsel Hezi Kattan. Former Shikun & Binui chairperson Moshe Lahmani, Dan Shaham, manager of the Kenya branch of SBI Infrastructure, and SBI-Solel Boneh foreign countries CEO Rony Paluch, admitted the charges against them and were variously penalized with fines, suspended prison sentences, and community service orders. 

According to the indictment against the subsidiary, before the amendment came into force, some companies in the Shikun & Binui group would make payments to people in the countries in which they operated, without receipts, some of which were improper. These unlawful payments, and the profits arising from them, were recoded in the group’s books.

Following the amendment, the companies adopted an ethical code and an enforcement program to implement the code in the countries in which they operated.

Alongside this, particularly until 2012, SBI Infrastructure conspired with the companies not to halt the payments.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on July 4, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Naty Saidoff  credit: Eyal Izhar
Naty Saidoff credit: Eyal Izhar
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