Vesttoo wins foreclosure against former employees
The embattled Bermuda-linked insurtech Vesttoo has won a court ruling in their bid to claw back $200 million from company founders and others alleged to be involved in a massive fraud that has crippled the company.
An Israeli court has granted a temporary restraining order approving a foreclosure of more than $23.6 million on the assets of cofounders Yaniv Bertele and Alon Lifshitz.
The Vesttoo CEO and chief financial engineer, respectively, were removed when the scandal first broke and more recently fired from the firm after an investigation ordered by the board of directors.
The Tel Aviv District Court has also approved a foreclosure of more than $7.2 million on two other former employees, Udi Ginati and Joshua Rurkaand, as well as a former finder for the company, Tal Ezer.
The Israeli court decisions are as a result of injunctions Vesttoo filed on September 12.
Vesttoo said the district court also ruled in their favour on a second request for a temporary freeze on the bank accounts, real estate assets and any stock of the parties, as well as a freeze on wire transfers from a bank account in Switzerland.
In a statement, the company also said: “As a result of the independent investigation carried out by leading third parties, Vesttoo alleges that the defendants carried out forgery and other fraudulent activities while misleading insurance companies, reinsurers and other clients, as well as the board of directors and the company’s employees.
“The company claims that, according to the evidence discovered by the investigation, the five defendants forged fraudulent letters of credit from leading international banks that were then used as collateral in the majority of the company’s transactions.
“The company further claims that, according to the findings, Mr Bertele and Mr Lifshitz forged signatures of bank employees, as well as impersonated a fictitious bank employee by the name of “Alex Garcia”, who they allegedly created in order to hide their fraudulent activities.
“Vesttoo is demanding that Bertele and Lifshitz compensate it for use of its funds for their personal expenses, including family vacations and private jets, which had nothing to do with the company’s activities.
“Bertele also used company funds for an extravagant birthday party, personal aesthetic treatments, large payments to his family and more.”
Ami Barlev, CEO of Vesttoo, is quoted: “The unilateral court ruling and temporary restraining order reinforce the results of the investigation and our claims against Mr Bertele and Mr Lifshitz, as well and Mr Ginati, Mr Rurka and Mr Ezer.
“This ruling was supported by very clear evidence obtained by the courts and support the findings of the investigation.
“This injunction is part of a larger legal process to be heard by the courts, however the fact that the judge provided the foreclosures at such a scale demonstrates the straightforwardness and conclusiveness of the evidence.”
The company is represented by the lawyers Shmulik Cassouto, Ronen Buch and Gal Klauzner from the law firm Cassouto and Company.