(photo credit: INIMAGE)
One of the top organized crime figures in Israel was arrested in Rishon Lezion on Tuesday, a day after police and tax authorities raided a series of businesses linked to his organization.
Moti Hassin was arrested for illegal firearms possession, money laundering and tax offenses, after two handguns were found during the raids, as well as several hundred thousand shekels in cash.
Hassin has been one of the acting heads of the Abergil crime organization since former boss Itzik Abergil was extradited to the United States in 2011 on organized crime charges, police sources say.
The raids were carried out at a bottle recycling plant and a clothing store, both in Bat Yam, and a restaurant in Rishon Lezion. All three businesses are allegedly linked to the Abergil organization, officers said.
The arrests are part of police efforts to fight organized crime by working in connection with tax authorities, as well as other government enforcement bodies such as the Interior Ministry’s construction enforcement office, the Agriculture Ministry and the Health Ministry.
Hassin’s arrest came the day after eight members of the rival Musli crime family were indicted for their alleged roles in the murder of three associates of the Abergil organization and repeated attempts to murder Hassin. Those crimes were part of a mob war between the two organizations which has included at least 14 murders in the past few years.
In September of last year, Hassin was acquitted in the murder of Avi David at a Bat Yam restaurant in 2011.
David was a former Abergil associate and friend of Hassin who had crossed over to the Musli family, and his murder is believed to have helped spark the war between the two organizations. Hassin and three co-defendants were also acquitted of the 2011 Bat Yam murder of Itzik Geffen, also a former friend and associate of Hassin.
When he was indicted for the murders in November 2013, Hassin appeared in court and spoke freely about his life as an underworld figure.
He described a paranoid existence constantly surrounded by bodyguards, and that he never travels or is seen in public with his wife or children, so they do not get die in attempts on his life.