GENEVA (Oct. 23)
Jewish financier and banker Tibor Rosenbaum told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here that he believes his bank, the International Credit Bank, and his various financial concerns will be saved and all depositors will get back their money. The closure of Rosenbaum’s bank has caused a political furore in Israel, a financial scandal involving the Israel Corporation and hit at some 12,000 small depositors who had entrusted their funds to the prominent Jewish businessman and leader.
Rosenbaum told the JTA that his financial difficulties started last spring after the management of the Hessische Landesbank Girozentrale, a partner in his bank, was reshuffled and the new directors tried to avoid their responsibilities in the Geneva bank in which they held a 36.4 percent interest. Rosenbaum said that the publicity surrounding this affair created an artificial withdrawal rush which soon deprived the bank of all available liquidities.
He said, however, that after the forthcoming elections in the State of Hesse due to take place next Sunday, he “hoped the bank (Hessische Landesbank) will assume its contractor obligations” and help the International Credit Bank resume normal operations.
A CHANGED MAN
Rosenbaum said that as far as the Israel Corporation is concerned, he believed that their 38.6 million deposit with his companies was “normal procedure.” He said that his bank and concerns had “often in the past rendered important services to the corporation” and allied companies. He refused to specify what these services were.
Financial circles in Geneva, however, said Rosenbaum had often in the past advanced them money at short order and thus helped promote their economic interests. These sources said Rosenbaum had also helped finance various Israeli arms deals in Western Europe and elsewhere.
Rosenbaum himself is a changed man from his relatively recent past: apparently suffering from lack of sleep, he has red eyes, a sallow men and a broken voice as he narrates what he terms “the lack of gratitude and even of basic friendship” from which he now suffers.
He lives in a middle-class apartment in Geneva’s residential sector and drives a low-priced car. He told this correspondent that he goes every day to his office in the bank where he mainly deals with small depositors to whom he tries to procure from other sources reimbursement of the funds deposited with him. The bank itself is closed and a Geneva court is examining its books. The court is expected to decide this week whether to extend the moratorium or declare it bankrupt.