Attorney suspected of ordering killings rearrested

Gor Finkelstein faces new charges of ordering the killing of a state witness to prevent him from testifying.

July 17, 2011 21:19
2 minute read.
A gavel strikes at the issuing of justice

311_gavel. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Attorney Gur Finkelstein, accused by police in May of ordering several failed bombings and arson attempts, was rearrested in prison on Saturday on suspicion of ordering the killing of a state witness to prevent him from testifying.

Finkelstein was arrested at the Sharon Prison. His father, Yitzhak, was also taken into custody following intelligence gathered by the police and the Prisons Service in an undercover operation.

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Gur Finkelstein was first arrested in May on suspicion of hiring a Jaffa-based mob to bomb the Scientology Center building there, for financial gain.

Immediately before his arrest on Saturday night, Yitzhak Finkelstein allegedly transferred cash to a undercover police agent, which police suspect was intended to pay for the hit on the state witness.

In his ruling, Judge Eran Kotton of the Haifa Magistrate’s Court wrote that there were reasonable grounds for extending Gur Finkelstein’s custody.

The court also ruled that Yitzhak Finkelstein will remain in custody until July 20.

His attorney, Avi Himi, protested the extension of custody, and told the court that Yitzhak had acted as a messenger and as the “right hand” for his son since his arrest three months ago, receiving funds from his son on several occasions.

“That does not mean that [Yitzhak] knew anything or even part of anything of any plans that were developed inside the prison,” Himi said.

“About the meeting that took place yesterday [between Yitzhak Finkelstein and the undercover officer], the undercover agent raised all kinds of topics because he knew he was recording [Finkelstein’s] father... It does not mean that the father knew about anything specific,” Himi said.

He asked the court to send Gur Finkelstein for a psychiatric examination. The court obliged.

When the alleged plot to bomb the Scientology Center, involving a truck filled with gas canisters and 300 liters of gasoline, failed, the men were ordered to set the building on fire, police said. That alleged attempt ended in failure as well.

He allegedly ordered the mobsters to harm Shota Hovel, the head of the construction oversight department at the Tel Aviv Municipality, following Hovel’s decision to knock down the building in Jaffa owned by Scientologists due to violations of building regulations.

Finkelstein allegedly had a financial interest in preventing the building from being demolished, and was behind the May 9 attempt to detonate a car bomb under Hovel’s car in Bat Yam. Hovel escaped from the incident unharmed, but the vehicle was damaged.

In a subsequent assassination attempt, three men dressed as police officers stopped Hovel in his car and tried to attack him with an electric shocker. That attack failed, too, and the attackers fled. Hovel was lightly wounded.

Finkelstein eventually concluded that it would be most profitable for him to arrange for the building to be rebuilt elsewhere, police suspect, as he received a commission from contractors behind the construction.

He is also suspected of sending men to kill his ex-wife’s partner.

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