Following a six-year trial, Attorney Israel Perry was convicted on Wednesday of stealing hundreds of millions of Deutsche marks from Holocaust survivors who were represented by the Association for Implementing the Social Security Covenant (AISSC), which he headed.
Tel Aviv District court judges convicted Perry of aggravated fraud, embezzlement, obstruction of justice and violation of insurance laws.
In 1973 Israel and West Germany signed a compensation agreement under which eligible Israel citizens would be permitted to join the West Germany's Social Security Authority's pension plan. To sign up a one-time payment was required to cover monthly premiums.
In 1983, three years after the agreement went into effect, Perry established the AISSC and presented himself as the survivors' representative in the reparation negotiations with the West German government. Some 30,000 Israelis registered.
However, according to the court's ruling, Perry did not inform his clients that the terms of the loans he had arranged for them, through companies under his control, led to excessive repayments, part of which he pocketed.
The survivors took out the loans for immediate use under the assumption that they could pay them back after receiving the reparations that were due to them.
"This is a case of systematic, well-planned fraud based the complexity of the agreements," the judges said in their ruling.