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Top 5 Jewish Business Criminal/Scandal Stories From 5783

From Sam Bankman-Fried to the continuing drama around the estate of the late pedophile and rapist Jeffrey Epstein, there was plenty to choose from.

Sam Bankman-Fried FTX

Sam Bankman-Fried co-founded FTX in 2019 and is its CEO. Photo FTX

The Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah – begins at sundown Friday night. The year 5783 will end and 5784 will begin. Here is the Jewish Business News list of the top 5 stories related to criminal charges and other scandals from the past year.

From Sam Bankman-Fried to the continuing drama around the estate of the late pedophile and rapist Jeffrey Epstein, there was plenty to choose from. Even Israel Startup Nation had more than its fair share of scandals this year.

Former Celsius Network CEO Alex Mashinsky Charged With Fraud
In July, Alex Mashinsky, the founder and former CEO of bankrupt Celsius Network, an Israeli fintech startup and cryptocurrency lender that once even had the coveted unicorn status with a billion plus valuation, was arrested in New York where U.S. officials are charging him with seven criminal counts. These include securities fraud, commodities fraud and wire fraud. And the company’s former chief revenue officer, Roni Cohen-Pavon, was charged with four criminal counts as well.

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The two stand accused of, in effect, running a Ponzi scheme based around Celsius Network’s crypto token called Cel, putting them in the same class with Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of crypto exchange FTX who has also been charged with similar crimes… Read More Here

Israeli Insurtech Unicorn Vesttoo Under Cloud Of Fraud Charges
Also in July, it was revealed that Vesttoo, an Israeli insurtech startup and a unicorn, is suspected of committing major fraud. The allegations revolve around billions of dollars of allegedly nonexistent collateral. That is collateral that was said to exist and serve as a backup for insurance never actually existed.

In response to the allegations, the company issued a statement saying, “The Vesttoo team discovered inconsistencies between an investor and a cedent (the person who holds the insurance policy) in transactions that Vesttoo modeled the risk for. We take the integrity of our business very seriously and are conducting a comprehensive third party audit to ensure our due diligence processes continue to be robust.” Read more here

British Billionaire Joe Lewis Arrested On Insider Trading Charges
British billionaire and owner of Tottenham Hotspur, Joe Lewis, was arrested in July on insider trading charges. The 86-year-old is accused of providing confidential information about several companies to friends, family, and associates, who then used this information to make millions of dollars on the stock market.

Lewis was arrested in New York and released on bail after posting a $250 million bond. As part of his bail conditions, he must surrender his superyacht, “AVIVA,” and his private plane… Read more here

Embattled Leon Black Tried Blaming His Accusers
Former head of Apollo Global Management Leon Black is still in the hot seat as he deals with multiple accusations of sexual assault of some sort. In August, in one case, his lawyers are claiming that the unidentified accuser’s own family said that she is lying not only about an attack by Black but also about suffering from autism. And Leon Black is also suing the lawyers for a group of three other accusers in another case in a blatant attempt to disrupt the civil suit against him.

Leon Black’s layers have now filed a suit against Wigdor LLP, the law firm representing three different Black accusers, of malicious prosecution. In a court filings, Blacks lawyers charged that the firm, “has a unique business model: it threatens to sue defendants with scandalous allegations that can be avoided only at the cost of a large settlement, of which Wigdor takes a substantial cut. When Plaintiff Leon Black had the temerity to reject this scheme, Wigdor sought to teach him a lesson by three separate headline-grabbing lawsuits which it knew, or should have known, were false.” Read more here

Sam Bankman-Fried Sits In ‘Reprehensible’ Jail
Last November, Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto business went under and then he was arrested on fraud charges. This was one of the biggest business related criminal stories of the past year.

He is now sitting in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, a jail notorious for its harsh conditions, while he awaits the start of his October trial. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked his bail after Bankman-Fried released personal writings sent to him by his former girlfriend and co-defendant Caroline Ellison who worked as a senior FTX executive… Read more here



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