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June 13, 2019 11:50 am

Israeli Police Investigate Claim That Local Winery Scammed US Ambassador

avatar by Tomer Ganon / CTech

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks during the dedication ceremony of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun / File.

CTech – Israeli police are investigating an allegation previously reported by Calcalist, that an Israeli winery scammed US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman out of $730,000. A lawsuit was filed in Tel Aviv district court in December by New York-based wine investment company Karraben Wine against Israeli wine company Montefiore Winery 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 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, 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.

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