United States District Court, D. New Jersey
IN RE APPLICATION OF SHIRA ISRAELLA KLEIN-BENTSUR FOR JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1782
OPINION AND ORDER
A. DICKSON. U.S.M.J.
matter comes before the Court on an ex parte application by
Shira Israella Klein-Bentsur ("Petitioner")
requesting that the Court to facilitate the issuance of
subpoenas and the gathering of documentary evidence from two
entities located in this District: Amnalon LLC and MIG IRC
LLC, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a). Petitioner seeks
"to obtain discovery from [those entities] ... in aid of
the divorce, alimony, and child support proceedings currently
pending in Rabbinical Court in Israel." (Decl. of Shira
Israella Klein-Benstur ("Klein-Bentsur Decl")
¶ 33, ECF No. 1-4). For the reasons set forth below,
Petitioner's ex parte application is
is a citizen of both Israel and the United States.
(Klein-Bentsur Decl. ¶ 2). Petitioner and Ron Bentsur
(hereinafter "Mr. Bentsur") were married on June 9,
1999. (Id. ¶ 4). The marriage produced three
children: Amit, Nadav, and Eylon. (Id.). Early in
their marriage, Petitioner and Mr. Benstur allegedly agreed
that Mr. Bentsur would work, and Petitioner would take care
of the couple's children and home. (Id. ¶
5). Mr. Bentsur accepted employment as the Chief Financial
Officer at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. and the family moved
from Israel to Tenafly, New Jersey. (Id. ¶ 6).
Ultimately, Mr. Bentsur became the Chief Executive Officer of
Keryx, and held that position until May 2015. (Id.).
Mr. Bentsur also served as the Chief Executive Officer of XTL
Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. from 2006 to 2009. (Id.
this time, Mr. Bentsur allegedly established a reputation as
a talented executive in the biomedical field and amassed
wealth through various investments, projects, and positions.
(Id. ¶ 8). At the same time, Petitioner and Mr.
Bentsur grew apart as the result of alleged emotional abuse.
(Id. ¶ 9). In 2014, Petitioner and Mr. Bentsur
allegedly agreed to return to Israel. (Id. ¶
10). Petitioner and the three children returned to Israel
while Mr. Bentsur stayed in New Jersey until the termination
of his contract with Keryx at the end of the year.
(Id.). Petitioner alleges that, despite therapy, Mr.
Bentsur returned to Israel in 2015 with his emotional issues
unresolved. (Id.)- Notwithstanding attempts to fix
the marriage, including mediation and counseling, Petitioner
and Mr. Bentsur commenced a child support action in Israeli
Family Court in the hopes of amicably resolving the matter
through settlement negotiations. (Id. ¶ 11).
While those negotiations were ongoing, Mr. Bentsur allegedly
instituted separate divorce and alimony proceedings in
Rabbinical Court. (Id.)
alleges that Mr. Bentsur failed to disclose all of his assets
before the Israeli court and attempted to prolong
negotiations in an effort to dispose of his undisclosed
assets. (Id. ¶ 14). More specifically,
Petitioner alleges that Mr. Bentsur failed to disclose assets
totaling $22 million, including an account at JPMorgan worth
over $5 million, an account at Bank Leumi worth approximately
$3.8 million, and an account at Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd.
worth about $2 million. (Id. ¶ 17). Petitioner
alleges that during 2015, Mr. Bentsur transferred at least
$3.76 million to unknown accounts at TD Bank, N.A.
(Id. ¶ 19). In addition, Petitioner alleges
that Mr. Bentsur unilaterally and secretly withdrew $1.8
million from a jointly owned real estate investment fund.
(Id. ¶ 20). Petitioner also alleges that Mr.
Bentsur purchased two luxurious apartments worth
approximately $2.5 million, including one that he purchased
for a mistress. (Id. ¶ 21).
alleges that, after obtaining portions of the couple's
U.S. tax filings, she discovered that Mr. Bentsur had
misrepresented his income before the Israeli court.
(Id. ¶ 24). Petitioner further alleges that Mr.
Bentsur failed to disclose income and stock options earned
during his employment at various bio-pharmaceutical entities,
including Stemline Therapeutics, Inc. and Advanced Inhalation
Therapies AIT Ltd., as well as Amnalon LLC
("Amnalon") and MIG IRC LLC ("MIG IRC").
(Id. ¶ ¶ 26, 28).
contends that in 2017, while she was on vacation in Thailand
with her three children, Mr. Bentsur emptied joint accounts
located at Bank Hapoalim, JPMorgan, and TD Bank.
(Id. ¶ 29). For instance, Petitioner alleges
that Mr. Bentsur made several transfers out of a joint
account at TD Bank totaling $500, 000. (Id.).
Petitioner contends that she withdrew approximately $500, 000
after Mr. Bentsur allegedly threatened that he would leave
her without any funds to care for herself or the children.
(Id.). At the same time, Petitioner alleges that Mr.
Bentsur refused to deposit his salary and investment income
into joint accounts. (Id. ¶ 30). Petitioner
alleges that she presented this evidence to the Rabbinical
Court in Israel, which issued a Mareva Injunction.
(Id. ¶ 31). Petitioner has now filed this ex
parte application under 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a) in order
"to obtain discovery from the companies . . . Amnalon
and MIG IRC, in aid of the divorce, alimony, and child
support proceedings currently pending in Rabbinical Court in
Israel." (Id. ¶ 33). Amnalon and MIG IRC
are located in Tenafly, New Jersey and Mendham, New Jersey,
respectively. (Id. ¶ 34). Petitioner contends
that such discovery will help determine "what assets
[Mr. Bentsur] has" as well as "how, when, and to
whom [Mr. Bentsur] has transferred assets."
28 U.S.C. § 1782(a), "[t]he district court in which
a person resides or is found may order him to give his
testimony or statement or to produce a document or other
thing for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international
tribunal . . . [t]he order may be made . . . upon the
application of any interested person and may direct that the
testimony or statement be given, or the document or other
thing be produced before a person appointed by the
court." A district court is permitted to grant an
application under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 if the following
three statutory requirements are met:
(1) the person from whom discovery is sought resides or is
found within the district;
(2) the discovery is for use in a proceeding before a foreign
or international tribunal; and (3) the application is made by
a foreign or international tribunal or any interested person.
In re Application of Microsoft Corp.. 428 F.Supp.2d
188, 192 (S.D.N.Y. 2006).
statutory requirements are met, a district court may, in its
discretion, grant the application. The Supreme Court has
identified four discretionary factors a district court may
consider when ruling on a § 1782(a) request: (1) whether
the person from whom the discovery is sought is a participant
in the foreign proceeding; (2) the nature of the foreign
tribunal, the character or the proceedings underway abroad,
and the receptivity of the foreign government or the court or
agency abroad to U.S. federal-court judicial assistance; (3)
whether the § 1782 request conceals an attempt to
circumvent foreign proof-gathering restrictions or other
policies of a foreign country or the United ...