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(photo credit: Channel 10 [file])
Israel Tax Authority officials on Thursday raided the Haifa offices and homes of two Israeli doctors allegedly involved in running an illegal fertility clinic in Bucharest on suspicion of committing tax fraud.
"We have opened an investigation into the case to examine whether taxes have been paid as required by law," said the Israel Tax Authority. "For the purpose of the investigation, we have seized documents and material relating to the doctors' business in Romania from their homes and clinics."
The two doctors under investigation are Prof. Nathan Levitt and Dr. Genya Ziskind, who were among the 30 people arrested in Bucharest on Monday on suspicion of paying Romanian women for donating their eggs, some of whom, according to local media, were 15-year-old girls. After bail was posted, 28 of the people involved with the Israel-owned Sabyc fertility clinic in Bucharest were released.
According to a Romanian daily the Sabyc fertility clinic, embroiled in the egg-trafficking case, was executing at least 2,000 artificial inseminations, each priced at an amount of between â‚¬8,000 and â‚¬10,000. The report said that the Bucharest-based clinic's earnings were estimated at around â‚¬20 million altogether.
Levitt has denied that the clinic was in breach of Romanian law, maintaining that all necessary approvals for operating the clinic had been received in due time as requested by the authorities.
The two clinic owners, father and son Ari and Yair Meron, are still in custody after being remanded for 29 days, while Levitt and Ziskind have been banned from leaving Romania. Prosecutors in the country announced on Wednesday that a total of 22 charges would be filed against the suspects.