(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Alleged Tel Aviv organized crime figure Meir Abergil landed at Ben-Gurion
Airport on Thursday as a free man after being extradited in January to the US
together with his brother Itzik on a host of charges.
arrested in August 2008 together with his brother on suspicion of involvement in
the murder of Margarita Lautin, who was gunned down in front of her family
during a botched underworld assassination attempt on a Bat Yam beach a month
On August 26, 2008, Yitzhak and Meir Abergil, along with Moshe
Malul and Israel Ozifa, were brought before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court for
their alleged role in the killing of Israeli drug dealer Sami Atias in Encino,
California, in August 2003, as a revenge for his allegedly having stolen money
They were remanded in custody together with Sason Barashi as a
result of a request by law enforcement in the United States for their
extradition. They faced a 77-page, 32-count federal indictment that alleged
murder, massive embezzlement, money laundering, racketeering and running a large
Los Angeles-based Ecstasy ring.
The inquiry into the case had lasted for
six years, involving the FBI, tax authorities and law enforcement officials in
more than 10 countries in America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Abergil denied all the charges.
He was released after agreeing to a plea
bargain with the California district attorney in which he confessed to extortion
of over a million dollars from another mob figure, and the remainder of the
charges against him were dropped.
“It’s shameful for the State of Israel
that I was extradited,” he said upon landing, according to Channel 10
His brother Itzik is still charged with involvement in the murder
of the Israeli drug dealer in Los Angeles.
Upon landing in Israel,
Abergil was greeted by relatives, as well as his attorneys Ayelet Afik Hakmon
and Avi Amirm.
“The Americans understood that if they brought this case
to trial, it would have nothing in it, while Meir has maintained his innocence
since day one,” Hakmon said, according to Ynet.
“The last remaining
charge was extortion, but without an extortion victim.
The plea bargain
was actually a way to get out of this affair honorably,” she said.