Israeli Police Investigate Claim That Local Winery Scammed U.S. Ambassador

In December, Calcalist reported that New York-based wine investment company Karraben Wine, previously owned by Ambassador David Friedman, sued an Israeli winery for fraud

Tomer Ganon 14:4512.06.19
Israeli police are investigating an allegation previously reported by Calcalist, that an Israeli winery scammed U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman out of $730,000. A lawsuit was filed to Tel Aviv district court in December by New York-based wine investment company Karraben Wine LLC against Israeli wine company Montefiore Winery Ltd. and its owner and CEO Arnon Geva. Friedman owned Karraben Wine prior to his appointment as ambassador but sold it to Texas-registered firm Mar Wine LLC in March 2017 to avoid conflict of interest.


According to the lawsuit, Montefiore Winery and Geva had presented Friedman—and later a representative of Mar Wine—with fraudulent documents including financial reports, bank transfers, and correspondence, to persuade them to make an investment.


On Tuesday, attorneys Dror Arad-Ayalon and Yuval Nachmani, Karraben's legal representation, stated in court that many people were questioned as part of the investigation. In their answer, the Geva family stated that the decision to sue Montefiore Winery was the result of Karraben making "a bad deal" with Friedman and not wanting to sue him. The presiding judge has ordered both sides to file an update within four months regarding the police investigation, halting discussion of the lawsuit in the meantime.


U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Photo: Amit Shabi U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Photo: Amit Shabi


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