The Tel Aviv District Court recently issued a decision clarifying that a public offer in Israel of securities of a foreign company is subject to the provisions of the Israel Securities Law, even where the investment agreement stipulates that it will be subject to a non-Israeli law and dispute resolution jurisdiction.
In the case at issue, a Cayman Island entity raised from a group of more than 100 Israeli investors about USD 10 million to be used for the construction of a hotel in Thailand. The investment agreement included a provision applying Thai laws and specifying Thailand as the exclusive dispute resolution venue.
Subsequently, certain of the investors filed a lawsuit claiming that the securities had been sold in violation of the Israeli Securities Law, which prescribes, inter alia, that “no person shall offer securities to the public other than pursuant to a prospectus, the publication of which has been authorized by the Israeli Securities Authority”.
The defendants, on their part, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in limine and a motion to hold a hearing on the Thai jurisdiction stipulated in the agreement.
In its decision the court rejected the motion to dismiss the claim and ruled that the relevant provisions of the Israeli Securities Law are not discretionary, and that a foreign law and jurisdiction provision in an agreement is not legally binding if it relates to a dispute relating to laws designed to protect the public in Israel.