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Doubts About 2 Polish Investors Prevent Sale of Israeli Oil Firm

Two Polish investors have failed so far in their attempt to purchase a controlling interest in the Paz oil company, partly because the Israelis are not sure just who the investors are.

A Polish group, represented by Bogoslaw Bagszik and Andrzej Gozirowski, approached Australian Jewish entrepreneur Jack Liberman with an offer to purchase, for $85 million, what local reports are saying is half the Israeli firm’s stock.

The Poles reportedly turned the money over to an Israeli trustee, but the deal was put on hold because the authorities were reluctant to approve a transaction that would transfer part of Israel’s oil reserves to a company whose background is not clear.

Both the sellers and Israeli authorities voiced doubts about the transaction.

The Liberman group is allowed to sell shares in Paz so long as it does not sell to “hostile elements” or endanger Israel’s security.

In an attempt to clear things up, Bagszik said he is Jewish and that he received Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return. But the Interior Ministry has doubts about his Jewishness.

Israel’s daily Yediot Achronot reported Monday that only a year ago, Bagszik introduced himself as a “genuine Christian” at a meeting of Polish businessmen. But last week, he told reporters that his Jewish parents died when he was 4 years old, and therefore he is Jewish, as are his four children.

His partner has also submitted a request for Israeli citizenship.

The Interior ministry said Monday it would check the backgrounds of both men once again.

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