Flipping out the vehicle identification numbers and forging documents, an international network imported stolen luxury cars from Europe to Israel by way of the Haifa port in recent months, the Coastal District Police said on Tuesday.

The suspects include a Haifa port worker and two employees of a company that works with the customs authority at the port, police said.

Altogether on Tuesday, police arrested 20 suspects believed to be involved in running the network, following a collaborative investigation between agents from the Tax Authority's “Yahalom” unit and detectives from the Coastal District's special investigative unit.

The suspects worked with accomplices in a number of countries in northern and western Europe that moved stolen cars into ships bound for the Haifa port, after which they would be taken and sold in Israel with counterfeit documents. Police said so far they know of 10 vehicles sold this way, all of them luxury cars, mainly BMW and Mercedes-Benz, worth around NIS 500,000 each.



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