Police see a continued migration of Israeli criminals abroad as they “flee”
local law enforcement, Lahav 433 - National Crime Unit head Cmdr. Menashe
Arbib said Thursday.
“For us it doesn’t matter where a criminal goes – we
will find them and we have great coordination with law enforcement agencies
abroad. Any of them who think they can be safe by going overseas are greatly
mistaken,” Arbib said.
The Israeli and foreign press have widely reported
on the high number of Israeli criminals who have set up shop abroad in recent
years, particularly in Morocco, but also in countries such as Romania, where the
Musli family runs highly lucrative casinos. Other popular spots in recent years
include South Africa and Latin America, the latter providing a lucrative source
of revenue from drug trafficking.
Arbib took issue with the term “crime
organizations” as a description of the gangs in question. “The teachers
association is an organization. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the
Mossad are organizations. These are just groups of criminals who come
together to make money and hurt people,” he said.
Arbib, whose unit is
often referred to as “The Israeli FBI,” was speaking at an attorneys’ forum in
Tel Aviv. He was asked about Israeli police efforts to fight serious crime, and
came under fire for recent statements from law enforcement officials calling for
expansions in the powers of police.
Attorney Moti Katz, who has
represented organized crime figure Amir Mulner, said that while police are doing
good work, they are getting carried away in their push for greater investigative
freedoms. “If someone thinks that the Israel police can prevent a grenade from
being thrown in Ashkelon by using administrative detentions, they’re throwing
the baby out with the bathwater and doing damage to the public,” he
Katz added that the use of administrative detentions, which allow
the detention of people suspected in security crimes without trial or charge,
“would lead to us being a state that we wouldn’t want to live in.”
Tsur, a former head of the Tel Aviv Police, said during the meeting that he was
not in favor of using administrative detentions, but that courts needed to allow
for more investigative material to be kept sealed in court, and not be made
accessible to defense attorneys. This is a common view among police, who say
that they sometimes have to accept plea bargains in order to not risk exposing
their sources or intelligence in court.