(photo credit: RAANAN COHEN/MAARIV)
Eti Alon was set to be released on Thursday after serving nearly 15 years in prison for a massive embezzlement scandal in which she stole over NIS 250 million, from the now defunct Trade Bank, in order to cover her brother, Ofer Maximov’s extensive gambling debts.
The Prison Service parole board agreed to commute Alon’s 17-year sentence after the prosecution announced that it would not oppose her release from Neve Tertza prison, in Ramleh.
"[Eti Alon] was a model prisoner during all her years in prison, she participated in the rehabilitation process and underwent individual therapy… None of this could reduce the severity of the offenses, however, it is sufficient to serve as a solid basis for the early release decision,” the parole board said in a statement.
In 2015, the Central District Court decided not to release the convicted embezzler before her 17-year sentence was finished after receiving the State Attorney Office's rejection of an appeal against Alon's early release.
In April 2002 Alon admitted to stealing over NIS 250 million over five years, while the deputy head of Trade Bank. Alon had transferred money from customer’s accounts to her brother Ofer Maximov who had accumulated approximately NIS 100 million in gambling debts to organized crime groups. Alon was convicted in 2003 and her brother was also sentenced to 15 years in prison.
According to Walla, Noel Maximov the daughter of Ofer Maximov and Eti Alon’s niece stated, “I am happy they concluded to release her,” she continued, "I can not describe the feeling, I need more time to digest. I hope it paves the way for the release of my father. He recovered, he works everyday outside, a model prisoner.”
Eti Alon’s lawyer, Limay Mor told Walla that Alon has a long way to go to integrate back into society, “To me now is only the beginning to digest the idea that she becomes a freed woman after years of struggle, during which she recovered ethically, took responsibility, and expressed remorse.”
The parole board noted that economic offense was perhaps the worst in Israel’s history as it sent shock waves through Israel’s banking sector, leading to the collapse of the Trade Bank and costing the state NIS 500 million in deposit guarantees.
Extensive banking regulations were instituted to prevent employees from unsupervised access. Moreover, the banking sector consolidated as the Israeli public lost faith in small banks and larger banks bought them up.
According to the terms of her parole Alon must meet with police once every two weeks, she is unable to leave the country until 2019, and she is barred from leaving the house starting at ten in the evening until six o'clock in the morning. She is also prohibited from contacting her brother for the next year.