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Blockchain Entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg Agrees to Buy Jerusalem Football Club, Report Says

Israeli news site Ynet News reported Monday that Hogeg and the current owner of Beitar Jerusalem had signed a memorandum of understanding, that will see Hogeg pay some $7 million for the club

Amarelle Wenkert 13:2013.08.18
Israeli blockchain entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg has agreed to buy the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club for approximately $7 million (NIS 26.5 million), Israeli news site Ynet News reported on Monday. Hogeg and the current owner of Beitar Jerusalem, Israeli businessman Eli Tabib, had signed a memorandum of understanding, the newspaper reported.

 

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Hogeg’s move to buy the club was first reported on Wednesday, with Tabib reportedly agreeing to an offer of $6.5 million (NIS 24 million). On Thursday, Tabib reportedly rejected the offer, asking for an additional $1.1 million (NIS 4 million). The football club carries a debt of $2.2 million (NIS 8 million), more than it disclosed during earlier negotiations, Ynet News reported Thursday, citing Hogeg as saying he will not pay “a shekel more” than the previously agreed-upon sum.

 

Bitar Jerusalem fans. Photo: Reuven Schwartz Bitar Jerusalem fans. Photo: Reuven Schwartz
Hogeg, who hails from the southern city of Be’er Sheva, is a known soccer enthusiast and fan of Hapoel Be’er Sheva Football Club. On several occasions, Hogeg posted photos of himself wearing a Hapoel Be’er Sheva jersey to his personal Facebook page. Mobli, a startup he founded in 2009, had sponsored the club in the past.

 

Hogeg is the co-founder and chairman of venture capital firm Singulariteam Ltd., which invests in startups in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotic, AR, and VR. He founded blockchain-based phone company Sirin Labs in 2013 in partnership with Kazakhstan-born businessman Kenges Rakishev. In 2016, the company launched what it called the world's most secure phone, pricing it at $14,000. In March 2017, Sirin Labs let go a third of its employees, before announcing a pivot to blockchain in September of that year. The company raised $157.8 million in a December initial coin offering, stating it will use the proceeds to develop and produce FINNEY, a new blockchain technology-based phone.

 

In June, Calcalist reported that Hogeg bought $19 million worth of real estate in Israel, paying partly in bitcoin.

Founded in 1936, Beitar Jerusalem is politically affiliated with right-wing politics and is historically associated with Israel’s governing party, the Likud-National Liberal Movement. Beitar is the only Israeli club playing in the country’s premier league to have never signed a player belonging to the Arab minority, which makes up roughly 20% of Israel’s population.

 

In May, six-time national champion Beitar Jerusalem announced a plan to add U.S. President Donald Trump’s last name to its team name, as a tribute to Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
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