(photo credit: INIMAGE)
The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office on Sunday announced that it is likely to file an indictment against crime boss Yitzhak Abergil and a range of other defendants and companies for a scheme in which they moved as much as NIS 50 million in public funds from a public company to Abergil’s interests, including a casino in Romania.
The district attorney’s office added in a statement that it will grant Abergil and the others a special pre-indictment hearing before filing the case.
Most indictments do not allow pre-indictment hearings, which are usually reserved for top public officials and other high-profile complex cases.
The other likely defendants include: Yair Biton, the companies S.Y.N. Gan Raveh and B. Yair Construction, Nissim Pines, Shimon Balulu, Hanita Pines, Naftali Peretz.
The likely defendants are expected to be charged with fraud, money-laundering, tax fraud, corporate fraud and other charges.
Abergil has been serving jail time on a range of criminal offenses linked to his time as one of the country’s leading crime bosses, most recently in Israel. He also served some jail time in the US prior to January 2014.
His extradition and conviction in the US were the result of one of the most complex joint Israel-US criminal investigations ever carried out, especially in light of his stature in the organized crime world.
The statement said that Abergil, Nissim Pines and Balulu established S.Y.N. Gan Raveh in 2007 but registered it only in Balulu’s name in order to cover up Abergil’s and Pines’s involvement.
B. Yair Construction was a private company under Biton’s control in 2006, when it became a public company, though Biton remained the controlling shareholder, said the statement.
From 2007-2008, noted the statement, S.Y.N. signed agreements with B. Yair to build housing development projects in Eilat for a payment of NIS 40m. S.Y.N. signed the agreement while representing publicly that it was a certified developer, though it had no certification, Nissim Pines was publicly legally bankrupt and he was also prohibited from engaging in work as a developer.
Biton moved forward with the deals against the backdrop of debts he had to Abergil and being extorted out of millions of shekels by Gabi Ben Hirsh, alleged the statement.
The statement said that many buyers purchased units as part of the Eilat development, not knowing that the developer was not licensed and that Abergil and Nissim Pines were part of the ownership of the project behind the scenes – facts that likely would have dissuaded them from investing.
B. Yair paid NIS 50m. to Abergil and his associates even during a period where Abergil’s straw company was not moving forward with construction and even as B. Yair needed to continue funding the construction, according to the statement.
Also, noted the statement, B. Yair, under Biton’s order and without notifying company management, gave S.Y.N. NIS 2m. as part of a deal without economic basis in which B. Yair pledged not to sue S.Y.N.
Some of the NIS 50m. was used to pay off NIS 7m. in debts for Abergil and some for Abergil’s NIS 6m. investment in a casino in Romania, the statement said.