Tzanani affair: Court extends singer's remand by 9 days

Defense attorneys plan to appeal nine-day extension; Tzanani to be held along with three others, including producer, crime-ring affiliates.

August 17, 2011 11:07
2 minute read.
Margalit Tzna'ani

Margalit Tzna'ani 311 . (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons (CC) by Eman)

The Rishon Lezion Magistrates Court extended the remand of A Star is Born judge and singer Margalit Tzanani on Wednesday by nine days. Tzanani is suspected of blackmail, extortion, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

Tzanani appeared in front of the Court Wednesday for the first proceedings in the  case that has been brought against her and members of an organized crime ring.

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'Star is Born' judge arrested for alleged mob ties

She is charged with hiring Amir Mulner, a man associated with underground crime, to retrieve unpaid debts from her agent. According to the police’s suspicions, Tzanani, who is also a judge on the hit TV music contest series A Star is Born, accused her agent, Assaf Atadegi, of failing to pay a debt of tens of thousands of shekels.

Atadegi represents a contestant on the show, Omer Adam, who began his musical career by appearing on the program as a contestant. Tzanani had reportedly claimed that Atadegi owed her a portion of his earnings from representing Adam.

Police sought to the extend the remands of Tzanani and two of Mulner's agents, Michal Hazan and Ofir Amar, as well as Tzanani's son, Asaf Levi, who is charged with weapon's possession.

The court has thus far extended the arrests of Hazan and Amar.

Tzanani shocked thousands of adoring fans Monday, when she was arrested after allegedly turning to the underworld in order to seek mediation to solve the dispute, receiving a “ruling” that Atadegi should pay her the funds. The agent was allegedly informed of the decision by underworld elements.

Police suspect members of Mulner’s organization had offered their “services” to collect the debt.

Furthermore, according to Israel Radio, police suspect that another criminal, who is currently in prison, asked Tzanani to make a particular judgment on the TV show. Police are reportedly investigating that allegation.

Tzanani’s lawyer, Shahar Hatzroni, said the singer was shocked by and denies all allegations against her.

A police source told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the investigation was still in “an early operational phase.”

The arrests came following a two-month undercover investigation, during which undercover agents from the National Economic Crimes Unit and the Lahav 433 unit followed members of Mulner’s organization and Tzanani.

On Tuesday, police raided the singer’s home and those of the organized crime suspects.

Police said in a statement that “following an undercover investigation, a number of suspects were arrested. They are suspected of extortion, using threats and conspiracy to commit a crime.”

Senior alleged mob kingpin Amir Mulner, considered an explosives expert by police, was released from prison in July after serving 31 months behind bars for conspiracy to commit a crime and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

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