Man in handcuffs - illustrative.
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Five more suspects, including the wife of a mob boss and three heads of a Jerusalem- based crime family were arrested Tuesday morning on suspicion of being involved in the murder of a prominent criminal attorney in Tel Aviv in 2008.
Karin Abutbul, the wife of crime boss Asi Abutbul, was arrested at her Netanya home and taken for questioning by police in connection to the murder of attorney Yoram Haham, who had represented her husband not long before his death.
Her arrest warrant, which includes charges of first degree murder and conspiracy, was signed by a judge on May 10, more than two weeks before Asi was arrested as part of “Case 512”.
She has been questioned under caution in connection to investigations involving her husband, including on suspicion of obstruction of justice, on numerous occasions in the past.
Haham, a 53-year-old father of four, was driving on Yigal Allon Street near the Nokia Arena (now the Menora Mivtachim Arena) in Tel Aviv on the night of June 11, 2008, when a bomb exploded inside his SUV, killing him on the spot.
The attorney had represented Abutbul in his organized crime trial, but Asi fired him not long before he was killed. Possible motives include a debt Asi allegedly accrued with the lawyer for his services and a feud the lawyer allegedly had with an associate of the Abutbul family.
Haham also was known for representing other organized crime figures, including Yossi Harari and Aryeh Alperon.
Asi, who already is serving a 13-year prison sentence on a series of organized- crime charges, most of which he has spent in almost total isolation, himself, was brought to court again on Tuesday for a remand hearing in the murder case.
In May, he was remanded on suspicion of being involved in a number of murders that are part of the “Case 512” investigation, which involves dozens of suspects, including several top mob bosses held on a litany of charges including murder, drug trafficking and money laundering. Most of the cases are from a decade or more in the past and include some of the more prominent organized crime cases in the history of the Israel Police.
At the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, an officer representing the police said Asi was in jail at the time of Haham’s murder and is suspected of ordering the hit personally, but not of actually having carried it out himself.
In addition, the police officer admitted that, while in custody, Asi has been taken for a confrontation with one of the state witnesses in Case 512 who has accused the mob boss of plotting to kill him years earlier.