Avy Lugassy, a senior govt at Swiss financial institution Hyposwiss Non-public Financial institution in Geneva has been arrested on suspicion of fraud on an enormous scale. Lugassy, who was born in Israel and has lived in Switzerland for many years, is suspected of stealing from accounts of the financial institution’s clients.
In line with studies within the Swiss media, the extent of the theft is 30-40 million Swiss francs (NIS 100-140 million), however info that has reached “Globes” signifies that the quantity may very well be as a lot as NIS 350 million. The financial institution manages some seven billion Swiss francs. Lugassy was arrested on September 5 after having been suspended by the financial institution, and his arrest was prolonged by three months.
The arrest got here within the wake of a routine test by the financial institution itself, wherein irregularities have been present in paperwork. The financial institution contacted the police to file a criticism, and the banking regulator in Switzerland. The file was transferred to the Public Prosecutor in Geneva, and the financial institution continues to cooperate with the investigation.
In line with the report on Swiss enterprise web site Bilan, Lugassy admitted the information in a listening to, and disclosed the accounts that had been affected by his embezzlement. Lugassy defined that he had “fallen into the lure so as to conceal the large losses of one in all his longstanding shoppers in 2015, and the scheme was sufficiently advanced and complicated to avoid the financial institution’s inner guidelines and procedures and defraud its clients.” The suspicion is that the purchasers obtained solid paperwork testifying to deposits that have been by no means the truth is made.
Lugassy’s legal professional is Adv. Philippe Grumbach, who may be very well-known within the Jewish neighborhood in Geneva. In response to “Globes’” enquiry, Grumbach replied, “I’ve no remark. I can affirm that I symbolize him along with my colleague David Bitton, however I cannot reply.”
Quarter of Hyposwiss’s shoppers Israeli
About 25% of the financial institution’s clients are rich Israelis, a few of whom have been hit by Lugassy’s actions. Amongst them are senior figures in Israel’s enterprise world who’ve completed enterprise in Jap Europe. Lugassy labored with the Israeli clients, with a few of whom he was in direct contact.
“Globes” has realized that Adv. Benny Baratz of the Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz regulation agency is representing the affected Israeli clients of the financial institution, who intend to file a lawsuit by means of him towards the financial institution and towards Lugassy. Baratz refused “Globes’” request for touch upon the affair.
The case has brought about a stir within the Geneva Jewish neighborhood, and plenty of Israelis know Lugassy from his philanthropic exercise in Keren Hayesod (United Israel Enchantment) in Geneva. On the financial institution and amongst Lugassy’s acquaintances folks have been very stunned by the allegations. Individuals near him, who’ve recognized him for years, describe him as a superb individual, who was very energetic in Israeli causes.
In 1989, Lugassy grew to become energetic within the Younger Management division of Keren Hayesod, which is a part of the Jewish Company and was set as much as elevate cash for the World Zionist Group. 4 years later, he was elected president of the Younger Management. Since 2015, he has served as president of the Keren Hayesod marketing campaign in Geneva. Keren Hayesod is a social circle in Geneva that holds occasions in luxurious banqueting halls and fund elevating occasions wherein distinguished folks in enterprise and the humanities have taken half. The occasions elevate giant quantities of cash. Lugassy would host Israeli delegations on the fund elevating evenings, with celebrities amongst them. In line with studies, the occasions have been attended by Tzipi and Bar Refaeli and former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo.
Lugassy was born in 1962 in Kiryat Gat, and was fifteen years outdated when his mother and father moved to Geneva. His father was a banker, and the primary emissary of Keren Hayesod in Switzerland. He returned to Israel to enlist within the IDF, and on the finish of his navy service he returned to Geneva and within the early 2000s began to work at Atlas, a financial institution owned by Maurice Dwek. The financial institution was acquired by Swiss holding firm Mirelis, and its exercise was later merged with that of Hyposwiss. Within the merger, Lugassy introduced his shoppers with him. He married Marcella Dwek, daughter of the late Maurice Dwek, who held shares in Hyposwiss. They’ve grown-up youngsters, and at the moment are divorced.
The financial institution, which has its important department within the middle of Geneva, makes a speciality of non-public banking, and has intensive exercise with Israeli shoppers who’ve made exits from investments. Greater than 70% of the shares within the financial institution are owned by the Lawi household, and the financial institution’s chairperson is Solly Alain Lawi.
In 2016, the financial institution purchased the enterprise of Israel Low cost Financial institution’s Swiss arm IDB Swiss Financial institution for $11 million. On the identical time, it opened a consultant workplace in Israel, run by Avi Selma and situated in Herzliya. In 2019, it purchased Financial institution Hapoalim’s Swiss operation, and in 2021 that of Mizrahi Tefahot Financial institution for NIS 160 million. Over time, it has gained an increasing number of Israeli shoppers, and final yr they represented 25% of its shopper base.
Avy Lugassy has not been convicted of any crime, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Revealed by Globes, Israel enterprise information – en.globes.co.il – on September 21, 2022.
© Copyright of Globes Writer Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.