(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Shay Musli, the head of one of Israel’s wealthiest and most powerful crime families, was arrested on Tuesday by South African police and awaits extradition to Israel on a series of organized crime and murder charges.
Tel Aviv police said Tuesday their South African colleagues made the arrest as part of a cooperative investigation and through collaboration with the State Prosecutor’s Office.
In May, eight members of the Musli crime family were indicted on a series of murder charges, shortly after police arrested 20 associates of the organization on charges including conspiracy, murder, and firearms offenses.
The Musli family, which made its name in south Tel Aviv and is based in and around the Kfar Shalem neighborhood, has powerful branches in Rishon Lezion, Bat Yam and elsewhere in Israel, and has spread far outside the country in recent years. They allegedly run gambling and other criminal enterprises in South Africa, as well as casinos in Romania, which for years have served as major cash cows for the organization.
In November 2013, one of Shay Musli’s top associates, Shimmy Anu, was found murdered outside Johannesburg six months after he followed Musli to South Africa.
Shimmy and his brother, Beru, were both top associates and enforcers in the family’s underworld war in recent years for control over gambling, money exchanges, and loan sharking and extortion rackets in central Israel.
Shimmy is believed to have been killed to send a message to a relative of his who had signed an agreement to testify to police about the Musli family. The identity of the state’s witness is still banned for publication, even though it is known to the entire crime family and an open secret in south Tel Aviv. The witness’s testimony has been crucial to the state’s case against the Musli crime family.