Convicted Murderer Herel Hershtik Set to Make Millions When Company Goes Public | world news

A convicted murderer in Israel is set to become a millionaire thanks to his tech company, which is set to go public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Harel Hershtik planned and executed a murder at the age of 20, shooting his victim, Yaakov Sela, in the head and burying the body.

Hershtik met Sela, a snake trapper with a circle of young fans, when he was 14.

They initially had a strong bond, but it later turned into “mutual hatred and disgust”, according to court documents.

Hershtik said he felt uncomfortable with the way Sela treated women and in 1996 Sela discovered that Hershtik had stolen more than £12,000 from him.

Rather than involving the police, the two men agreed that Hershtik would pay him double.

Hershtik planned to drive Sela around the Israeli banks, tricking him into thinking he was collecting the money, but during the drive he pretended he needed to vomit before Sela stopped the car.

It was then that Hershtik’s accomplice shot Sela three times and handed the gun to Hershtik, who shot his victim in the head at close range.

The couple put the body in the car and buried it in Grove Heights, where it was discovered weeks later by hikers.

Hershtik’s mother was also convicted of several crimes, including trying to thwart a police complaint filed by Sela’s mother.

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He said his health tech business was valued at over £200m. Photo: AP

From stealing thousands of books to completing two doctorates

Nearly 26 years later, Hershtik expressed his remorse for the crime during an interview with The Associated Press and his business associates use him as a successful example of rehabilitation.

During his long prison term, Hershtik completed two doctorates in mathematics and chemistry, married three times, and founded 31 businesses, selling six.

He is vice president of strategy and technology at Scentech Medical, which he founded while still in prison in 2018 and which is now about to go public.

Scantech is a technology product that can detect certain diseases through a breath test and it is awaiting regulatory approval to enable a merger with NextGen Biomed, which trades on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

HOLD FOR STORY - Israeli Harel Hershtik, vice president of strategy and technology at Scentech Medical, demonstrates his company's product, which says it can detect certain diseases through a patient's breath , at the company...s office in the town of Rehovet, Israel, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. When Hershtik was 20, he planned and executed a murder.  Today, he's the brains of an Israeli health-tech start-up, poised to make millions with the backing of high-profile public figures and deep-pocketed investors.  (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
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While in prison, Hershtik completed two doctorates and started 31 businesses. Photo: AP

The merger, according to Hershtik, would value the company at £204m and he said he has raised more than £20m in funding over the past two years from private investors.

Israeli law does not prohibit prisoners from doing business, but Hershtik faced a number of obstacles, including limited internet access.

“You are limited by reality. You are in prison,” he said.

“You run a business. You can’t run it yourself from prison. You have to rely on other people to talk, to do deals, to do business.”

*** TO GO WITH A STORY BY TIA GOLDENBERG *** Harel Hershtik has his electronic monitoring device for convicted and released prisoners on his left leg, as he works in his labs in Rehovot, central Israel , Wednesday, May 11, 2022. At the age of 20, Harel Hershtik planned and executed a murder.  Today, he's the brains of an Israeli health-tech start-up, poised to make millions with the backing of high-profile public figures and deep-pocketed investors.  (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
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Hershtik has been under house arrest since his release. Photo: AP

Three failed marriages and a stab wound

Hershtik installed general managers to run the day-to-day operations of his businesses, and he had to have documents read to him over the phone.

Although he managed to become a successful businessman while behind bars, he said he was stabbed by two Arab inmates after he was caught up in a plot to catapult a severed pig’s head with a Quran in the mouth in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

He said he suggested the plot to two Jewish nationalists he met in prison, but said it was hypothetical.

Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, got wind of the plan and enlisted Hershtik as an informant and when Arab detainees found out about his work with the agency, they stabbed him, he said .

*** TO GO WITH A STORY BY TIA GOLDENBERG *** Harel Hershtik works in his labs in Rehovot, Israel, Wednesday, May 11, 2022. Aged 20, Harel Hershtik planned and executed a murder.  Today, he's the brains of an Israeli health-tech start-up, poised to make millions with the backing of high-profile public figures and deep-pocketed investors.  (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
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He said he was remorseful for his crimes and rehabilitated himself in prison. Photo: AP

He was also married and divorced three times in prison.

In 2021, a parole board concluded that Hershtik had been rehabilitated and was no longer a danger to society, placing him under house arrest at night from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

He must also wear a tracking device and is prohibited from leaving Israel.

“The remorse I felt for what I did would become a beacon for my path,” Hershtik said.

“This company was created because I wanted to do something better, leave a better world.”

Barbara M. Stokes