December 21, 2017 / 8:40 AM / a year ago

Israeli banks ask court to break up Bezeq owner Eurocom over debt

JERUSALEM, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Three Israeli banks have asked a court to liquidate Eurocom Communications, the controlling shareholder of Bezeq Israel Telecom, a move that could lead to the sale of Israel’s largest telecoms group.

Eurocom is owned by Shaul Elovitch, who is under investigation by Israel’s securities regulator fraud.

In November, the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) said it had found enough evidence to support bringing criminal charges against Elovitch, who has stepped down as Bezeq’s chairman, and senior officials at Bezeq. Elovitch has denied any wrongdoing.

Eurocom owes nearly 1 billion shekels ($286 million) to three of Israel’s largest banks, Hapoalim, Israel Discount and First International, which also filed a motion to appoint observers to oversee Eurocom’s operations.

The court, Bezeq said on Thursday, will consider the matter on Dec. 25.

Eurocom said it was examining the implications of the legal proceedings and would agree to the appointment of observers subject to the approval of the Communications Ministry.

Should the court force the liquidation of Eurocom, it could lead to the sale of Bezeq, which dominates Israel’s telecoms sector. Last month, four funds said they were interested in buying control of Bezeq, according to media reports.

$1 = 3.4922 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen

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