Former Hapoalim chairman seen forced to resign from Continental chair on Peled-Givony scandal<br>*<a href="http://www.themarker.com/eng/archive/arc_article.jhtml?ElementId=ha20020808_01e">Continental Bank loans to Peled-Givony group comprised 75% of its equity</a>
Amiram Sivan, formerly the chief executive of Bank Hapoalim and today the chairman of its subsidiary, Israel Continental Bank, will apparently be forced to step down in the wake of the Peled-Givony scandal, TheMarker has learned. Continental Bank director Hannah Rosenberg will also be forced to resign in the fallout of Continental's tremendous loans to the dubious business group headed by Rafi Peled and Arie Givony. Continental is estimated to have lent no less than 75% of the equivalent of its NIS 255 million shareholders equity to companies belonging to the group, which is in a state of collapse. Banking sources say that Supervisor of Banks Yitzhak Tal will not shrug off the affair, and intends to demand that "personal" conclusions be reached. Continental will have to set aside tens of millions of shekels for its doubtful loans to the Peled-Givony companies, estimate banking sources. Sivan will have to take responsibility as the bank's chairman even if not personally involved in granting the credit, they add. Sivan recently said he would step down as Continental's chairman, after 15 years on the job, due to the failure to merge it into Bank Hapoalim. Top Hapoalim officials are furious at Sivan for rolling the responsibility, in interviews with the press, onto Continental's management. Sivan could have defused at least some of the risks the bank undertook in its dealings with the Peled-Givony group, they claim. Another irate party is SEB, which owns 36% of Continental Bank. It has hired Israeli lawyers to look into events at its affiliate, which it trusted Bank Hapoalim to manage.