Assi Abutbul, the head of a Netanya-based crime family that has fallen from fortune in recent years, was indicted on Thursday on a series of charges including the murder of a former associate whose body has never been found.
Moshe Hadas went missing in 2000 not long after he was released from prison and had started trying to get back on his feet in the Netanya underworld. According to the indictment issued in the Lod District Court on Thrusday, Abutbul felt threatened by Hadas and decided to bring him in close, to befriend him and then finally, kill him one night and dispose of the body.
The day after Abutbul allegedly killed Hadas, he spoke about the murder with an associate, named as “AA”, who later became a state witness in the case against Abutbul. Abutbul also allegedly told AA that he gauged out Hadas eyes and told AA to help him forge an alibi for the night of the murder. When AA refused, Abutbul attempted to kill him with a bomb that badly wounded AA.
Abutbul was also indicted for attempted murder for the bombing.
Abutbul also faces a kidnapping and aggravated assault charge for an incident in 2001, in which he and his late brother Francois drove Avi Yamin to an orchard in the Poleg neighborhood of Netanya and beat and stabbed him repeatedly, before forcing him to pay them NIS 100,000 to let him go. The beating was allegedly carried out because Yamin had been talking about the murder of Hadas, and had told AA that he helped dispose of the body.
The charges against Abutbul came as a result of the massive “Case 512” anti-organized crime investigation that has seen dozens of underworld figures arrested, including several crime family bosses, since the case went public in May. The state has recruited seven witnesses, including feared underworld associates who were very close to the same crime bosses they are now testifying against.