I’m at the editing stage of my second book, which will be out in early 2023.
It took me a while to write this one as I had a hard time deciding on my subplot - the financial scam/mystery. I wanted to keep it simple while still using a real-life story about people I know.
I ended up using the story of Eli, a guy who I used to know very well.
Eli and I worked very closely together. It was years ago and I was pregnant with my first child. He was twenty years my senior, had three daughters of his own which he liked to talk about, and he was nice and supportive. He was well-liked, always helping out and making jokes. Occasionally, he would cut corners (like punching in and then going out on errands) with a shrug and a smile. He liked to say “yihye beseder”, a phrase in Israel that means “it’ll be ok”, things will work themselves out. And they usually did.
I would never have guessed that he would end up on trial for market manipulation.
Fast forward twenty years, Eli is near retirement, working in a brokerage firm, executing trading orders.
Among the firm’s clients was a huge real estate company called Melisron. Google it, and you’ll see that it has a market value of 12 billion shekels (about $3.4 billion).
Melisron’s CFO poured over 20 million shekels into affiliated accounts and ordered Eli to buy a series of bonds for which the company planned a secondary offering. Buying the bonds would boost their price, meaning the offering would start from a better starting point.
There was no way either Eli or the CFO could have pretended that what they were doing was legit : This was a classic example of market manipulation – arranging to boost the price of a security by artificial demand.
Eli's “no worries” attitude got the better of him. He used the 20 mil to buy the bond.
Naturally, the bond price went up, which was what the CFO wanted in the first place.
I know Eli. He wasn’t a criminal. He did it because his job was to broker deals and make money for the firm, and also because he wanted to retain his client, keep him happy; and he believed in yihye beseder.
The Israeli Securities Authority had an easy time nailing the culprits once it got suspicious, since all phone calls to the firm were recorded.
Eli and the CFO were both tried and found guilty.
The judge was lenient with my friend. While the CFO was sentenced to a year in jail, Eli got three months of community work. The judge was careful to point out that brokers are supposed to follow and execute the orders of their clients to the letter, but added: “even when receiving a direct order, if it’s clearly unlawful, a broker should refuse to execute it”.
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Once my book is ready – you’ll read it first (for free). All I ask in return is that you review it – on Amazon, or on your Goodreads account.