Yaniv Bertele (right) and Alon Lifshitz.

Court approves seizure of $30 million in assets from Vesttoo co-founders, execs

The request, submitted by the company and approved by the Tel Aviv District Court, included foreclosures totaling approximately $23 million on the assets of co-founders Yaniv Bertele and Alon Lifshitz, as well as foreclosures totaling $7.2 million on two former executives and a service provider

The Tel Aviv District Court has approved to seize NIS 117 million (approximately $30 million) from two of the founders of Vesttoo, two former executives at the company, and a service provider. The approved request, submitted by lawyers Shmulik Cassuto and Ronan Buch, included foreclosures totaling approximately NIS 90 million ($23 million) on the assets of co-founders Yaniv Bertele and Alon Lifshitz. In addition, the court imposed foreclosures totaling NIS 27.6 million ($7.2 million) on the two former employees and the service provider.
These unilateral foreclosures were the result of Vesttoo's request to seize NIS 768.6 million ($201 million) from Bertele, who served as the company's CEO, and Lifshitz, who served as Chief Financial Engineer. In addition, the court was asked to seize NIS 247 million ($65 million) from Udi Ginati and Josh Rurka, two former executives at the company, and Tal Ezer, who provided services to the company.
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מייסדי וסטו יניב ברטלה ו אלון ליפשיץ
מייסדי וסטו יניב ברטלה ו אלון ליפשיץ
Yaniv Bertele (right) and Alon Lifshitz.
(Photo: Vesttoo)
According to the company and in accordance with the findings of an investigation carried out by financial and risk advisory firm Kroll, the respondents committed serious acts of fraud and forgery while misleading both the insurance companies and sub-insurers as well as the company's board of directors and its employees.
Per the company and according to the investigation, the respondents forged letters of credit from leading banking institutions as well as signatures of bank representatives. In addition, Bertele and Lifshitz even pretended to be a representative of a fictitious bank named "Alex Garcia" which they created, and this in order to hide the acts of fraud and forgery. According to the company, they are also required to compensate the company for the use they made of the company's coffers for their personal needs: family vacations, flights on private planes, and other expenses. According to the company, Bertele even used company cash to, among other things, organize a luxurious birthday party, receive private medical services, aesthetic treatments, pay for a surfing school, and payments to toy stores.
Ami Barlev, CEO of Vesttoo, said, "The court's unilateral approval of the temporary reliefs and foreclosures that were requested confirms the results of the company's investigation against Mr. Bertele, Mr. Lifshitz, Mr. Ginati, Mr. Rurke, and Mr. Ezer. The request for temporary reliefs was supported by many pieces of evidence. The district court unequivocally states that the evidence presented supports the findings of the investigation conducted by the company. This request for temporary relief is part of a broader legal proceeding that will be discussed later according to the legal procedures, but the fact that the judge imposed these foreclosures and on such a significant scale is the most important thing from our point of view and the proof that the investigation provided true evidence."
Attorneys Tal Shapira and Meirav Bar-Zik, said on behalf of Bertele, "The request in question, as well as the decision given in it, were not presented to Bertele. As has often been the case, the details were leaked to the media beforehand. The request for relief on which the request for foreclosures is based is an idle request that lacks any factual and legal basis and was unlawfully submitted within the framework of insolvency proceedings in a clear and transparent attempt to avoid paying a toll. It will be rejected outright, along with the request for foreclosures that was submitted alongside it. The decision, which is unknown to Bertele, was given unilaterally without Bertele being given the opportunity to respond to the claims, and there is no need to say that Bertele's full position in relation to the unfounded claims being made, as well as the flawed and biased investigation procedure that is at the center of it, will be submitted to the court."
Alon Lifshitz's attorney, attorney Nati Haim from the Agmon and Tulchinsky law firm, said that "the documents have just been handed to them and they will study them and respond to the court. However, it can already be said that the court has rejected most of the requests to impose temporary foreclosures and not without reason. This is a procedure without a legal and factual basis and we are convinced that the court will reject the procedure in its entirety after hearing our arguments. To add to that and worst of all, it is a procedure that is entirely controlled by those who are in an extreme conflict of interest, who served as directors of the company throughout the relevant period and are now trying to vindicate themselves by filing idle procedures."