Police free southern mob boss linked to Tzanani probe

Lawyers say Shalom Domrani's arrest unnecessary from the outset; indictment against "Star is Born" judge expected this week.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
August 28, 2011 13:46
2 minute read.
Margalit Tzanani in court

Margalit Tzanani in court311. (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger)

Police on Sunday released Southern crime boss Shalom Domrani, who was arrested on suspicion of being involved with the alleged extortion of a music agent by singer Margalit Tzanani.

Domrani's lawyer said that his arrest was unnecessary from the outset.

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Last Thursday, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s court extended the detention of the "Star is Born" judge for an extra five days.

Police suspect that Tzanani asked mobsters to extort an unpaid debt from her manager, Assaf Atadegi.

Domrani, an organized crime boss, was already under house arrest in connection with a different offense when he was taken into custody last week.

At the start of the hearing, Domrani asked the court to disqualify Judge Ita Nachman from hearing the case, because she had previously determined that there was evidence against him in a different extortion case.

“Does the court have something personal against me?” he asked.

However, Judge Nachman dismissed the request, saying that she was not familiar with the suspect and would rule only according to the evidence before her.

Commander attorney Alon  Grossman told the court that since Domrani’s arrest, the investigation had turned up additional evidence linking him to the offense.

In court on Thursday, Grossman said that an indictment against Tzanani would be filed at the end of those five days, as well as a request that the singer remain in custody for the duration of the trial.

However, Tzanani’s defense attorney Sassi Gaz argued that he has not seen details of the charges against the singer, and alleged that Tzanani did not know why she was being investigated.

“We have not seen the facts, we don’t know who, when and what the level of extortion was,” said Gaz. “My client keeps asking me why she is here.”

Tzanani’s defense team also alleged that the police had misinterpreted wiretapped conversations Tzanani had made about threatening Atadegi.

However, Grossman said Tzanani had been told in detail why she is being investigated and also that police investigators have collected a great deal of evidence against her.

“We know exactly what she received, or what she was supposed to receive and how she did it, the date on which the level of threats was raised to extortion, and against whom. We know everything and it will be in the indictment,” said Grossman.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.


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