(photo credit: INIMAGE)
After three years abroad, Michael Mor, long one of the notorious crime bosses in the country, landed in Israel on Tuesday and was immediately arrested for questioning on a series of organized crime charges.
Mor, who ran a syndicate based in Nahariya in northern Israel has for years been a major target of the Israel Police’s YAHBAL international crimes investigatory unit. Over the past three years he’s spent time in Thailand and South Africa, allegedly running gambling and extortion rackets in both countries. In his absence over the past few years, his brother Badri Mor ran his operations, until he was gunned down in Nahariya in July.
It is unclear if Michael Mor decided to return in an attempt to rehabilitate the organization, which has been riven by infighting since he left the country.
On Tuesday his attorneys issued a statement saying that their client denies all the allegations against him and that they are confident that he will be released soon.
Mor became famous in Israel years ago for his central role in the “avenging police” affair.The scandal that shook the Israel Police broke in 2006, after four Northern District Police - Yaniv Ashur, Yossi Levy, Rami Musa, Eldad Hadad and an unnamed policeman who turned state's witness - were arrested for plotting a series of revenge attacks against Mor and his associates.
In October 2009, the four officers were sentenced to a year in prison for placing a pipe bomb underneath one of Mor’s cars and for throwing a fragmentation grenade at his house. The officers said they felt abandoned by the police high command, who they say did not provide them protection from the soldiers of Mor’s organization, which they said threatened and intimidated police across Nahariya and the district.
At the time of the sentencing, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said in a statement that the court's decision Sunday must be honored, but that "we can't ignore that they [the police officers] were moral and professional police officers who had waged a long, exhausting fight against criminals who lacked any values and tried to harm them and their families."