Netanya organized crime figure Charlie Abutbul died of a gunshot wound to the head on Thursday, in the latest blow to the crime family that once dominated the city’s underworld.
As of press time, police said they still didn’t know if Abutbul had taken his own life or if someone else had shot him dead.
For decades, Abutbul was a well-known underworld figure in Netanya and beyond.
In recent years, he had become the de facto leader of what remained of the organization, following the murder of his nephew Francois Abutbul in July 2011 and the sentencing of Francois’s brother Asi to 13 years in prison in 2009. Asi’s and Francois’s father, Felix Abutbul, had run the family for years before he was gunned down outside a casino he ran in Prague in 2002.
In another blow to the family, Charlie Abutbul’s son, also named Francois, was sentenced to life in prison in 2009 for the murder of a teenager outside a nightclub.
In recent years, largely because of the repeated setbacks, the family has become a shell of its former self, eclipsed by other local organizations – including the one run by the Abutbuls’ bitter rival, Rico Shirazi.
Charlie Abutbul had survived numerous attempts on his life and served a series of prison sentences. In the latest case, he had been released to house arrest in August of last year, after nearly a year in prison for the kidnapping of a yeshiva student suspected of robbing associates of the family.
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