(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Amir Mulner, a former leader of the Ramat Amidar gang, was arrested at Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday morning after returning to Israel following a long sojourn abroad.
He was taken to a remand extension hours later in Petah Tikva and was ordered kept in custody for five days on suspicion of money laundering and tax offenses.
Mulner told the court the arrest was “all a sham,” and that he was being hounded by the police’s Serious and International Crime Unit.
For years the top organized crime target of the Israel Police, Mulner has been abroad since late 2013, having left the country just before five of his top associates were indicted plotting to kill a rival of Mulner, and just before the bombing of an SUV belonging to a Tel Aviv prosecutor in November 2013.
Mulner has never officially been named by police as a suspect in the bombing, but it is believed that he is wanted for questioning in that case as well, largely because the prosecutor handled cases against Mulner and his organization in the past.
According to the indictment against Mulner’s associates, the five men stashed a stolen pistol in a fuse box at a building where they lived.
They then planned to call the target to set up a meeting at the building and then shoot him and discard the weapon.
Mulner left the country just before the hit was to take place, and has been wanted for questioning ever since.
That indictment came just after three other associates of Mulner were indicted in an NIS 300 million money laundering and tax evasion case. Mulner’s gang was also accused last year of being involved in a plot to penetrate the Ramat Gan Municipality and muscle in on businesses run by the city.
Mulner has spent the past two years living in at least two countries. He has been followed closely by Israeli police, but at no point did Israeli authorities start an extradition process against him.